Proposed Modification of the Atlanta Class B Airspace Area; GA, 5429-5440 [2012-2072]

Download as PDF mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 23 / Friday, February 3, 2012 / Proposed Rules (2) Within 6 months, unless accomplished previously, and thereafter at intervals not to exceed 12 months or 2,500 landings, whichever occurs first, determine the horizontal deflection of each crosstube from the centerline of the helicopter (BL 0.0) to the outside edge of each skid tube. Before further flight, replace any crosstube that exceeds any maximum allowable deflection limit contained in the maintenance manual. (3) Within 6 months, unless accomplished previously, and thereafter at intervals not to exceed 12 months or 2,500 landings, whichever occurs first: (i) Remove and disassemble the landing gear assembly to prepare each crosstube for a fluorescent penetrant inspection (FPI) by following the Accomplishment Instructions, Part I, paragraphs 1. through 9., of the ASB. Note 1: Abrasion strip, P/N 206–050–301– 111; lower center support, P/N 412–050– 007–101, with the incorporated Larson L101 abrasion strip; and lower center support, P/N 604–026–003, if installed on any crosstube, P/N 412–050–045–105, or reworked crosstubes, P/N 412–050–011–101, –103, –105, or –107, are only removed if required by following the instructions in the ASB (see items 2, 5, and 6 in Figure 1 of the ASB). (ii) Clean and prepare the crosstube for the FPI by removing the sealant and paint in the area depicted in Figure 2 of the ASB by following the Accomplishment Instructions, Part I, ‘‘Cleaning and Preparation,’’ paragraphs 1. through 5., of the ASB. (iii) Perform an FPI of each crosstube and upper center support, P/N 412–050–006–101, for a crack, any corrosion, a nick, scratch, dent, or any other damage by following the Accomplishment Instructions, Part I, ‘‘Inspection,’’ paragraphs 1. through 3. of the ASB. Use Table 2 in the ASB to determine the appropriate Inspection Criteria Table to use in the maintenance manual, which list the maximum repair damage limits for each crosstube P/N applicable to this AD. (iv) Repair the crosstube or upper center support if there is any corrosion, a nick, scratch, dent, or any other damage that is within the maximum repair damage limits, before further flight, or replace the crosstube with an airworthy crosstube. Note 2: The repair procedures are specified in the Component Repair and Overhaul Manual. (v) If there is a crack or other damage beyond any of the maximum repair damage limits, before further flight, replace the crosstube with an airworthy crosstube. (4) Before further flight, after completing paragraph (d)(3) of this AD, unless accomplished previously, rework each crosstube P/N 412–050–011–101, –103, –105, or –107 by applying the bonding procedures and abrasion strips on the under side of the crosstubes at BL 0.0 and BL 14 by following the Accomplishment Instructions, Part I, ‘‘Rework of Crosstubes,’’ paragraphs 1. through 10. of the ASB. Record on the component history card or equivalent record an ‘‘FM’’ to the end of the part number sequence of each crosstube that has been reworked (for example, 412–050–011– 107FM). Omit the Larson L101 abrasion strip VerDate Mar<15>2010 20:47 Feb 02, 2012 Jkt 226001 at BL 0.0 on each crosstube when installing lower center support, P/N 604–026–003 (see item 6 in Figure 1 of the ASB). (e) Special Flight Permit Special flight permits for inspections only may be issued under 14 CFR 21.197 and 21.199 to operate the helicopter to a location where the requirements of this AD can be accomplished. (f) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOC) (1) The Manager, Rotorcraft Certification Office, FAA, may approve AMOCs for this AD. Send your proposal to: Michael Kohner, Aviation Safety Engineer, Rotorcraft Certification Office, Rotorcraft Directorate, FAA, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas 76137; telephone (817) 222–5170; email mike.kohner@faa.gov. (2) For operations conducted under a Part 119 operating certificate or under Part 91, Subpart K, we suggest that you notify your principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager of the local flight standards district office or certificate holding district office before operating any aircraft complying with this AD through an AMOC. (g) Subject Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 3210, Main Landing Gear. Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on January 27, 2012. Kim Smith, Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service. [FR Doc. 2012–2419 Filed 2–2–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–13–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 71 [Docket No. FAA–2011–1237; Airspace Docket No. 08–AWA–5] RIN 2120–AA66 Proposed Modification of the Atlanta Class B Airspace Area; GA Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). AGENCY: This action proposes to modify the Atlanta, GA, Class B airspace area to ensure the containment of aircraft within Class B airspace, reduce controller workload and enhance safety in the Atlanta, GA, terminal area. DATES: Comments must be received on or before April 3, 2012. ADDRESSES: Send comments on this proposal to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M– 30, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 5429 Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, Washington, DC 20590–0001; telephone: (202) 366–9826. You must identify FAA Docket No. FAA–2011–1237 and Airspace Docket No. 08–AWA–1, at the beginning of your comments. You may also submit comments through the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Paul Gallant, Airspace, Regulations and ATC Procedures Group, Office of Airspace Services, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591; telephone: (202) 267–8783. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Comments Invited Interested parties are invited to participate in this proposed rulemaking by submitting such written data, views, or arguments as they may desire. Comments that provide the factual basis supporting the views and suggestions presented are particularly helpful in developing reasoned regulatory decisions on the proposal. Comments are specifically invited on the overall regulatory, aeronautical, economic, environmental, and energy-related aspects of the proposal. Communications should identify both docket numbers (FAA Docket No. FAA– 2011–1237 and Airspace Docket No. 08– AWA–5) and be submitted in triplicate to the Docket Management Facility (see ADDRESSES section for address and phone number). You may also submit comments through the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov. Commenters wishing the FAA to acknowledge receipt of their comments on this action must submit with those comments a self-addressed, stamped postcard on which the following statement is made: ‘‘Comments to Docket Nos. FAA–2011–1237 and Airspace Docket No. 08–AWA–5.’’ The postcard will be date/time stamped and returned to the commenter. All communications received on or before the specified closing date for comments will be considered before taking action on the proposed rule. The proposal contained in this action may be changed in light of comments received. All comments submitted will be available for examination in the public docket both before and after the closing date for comments. A report summarizing each substantive public contact with FAA personnel concerned with this rulemaking will be filed in the docket. Availability of NPRMs An electronic copy of this document may be downloaded through the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov. E:\FR\FM\03FEP1.SGM 03FEP1 5430 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 23 / Friday, February 3, 2012 / Proposed Rules You may review the public docket containing the proposal, any comments received and any final disposition in person in the Dockets Office (see ADDRESSES section for address and phone number) between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. An informal docket may also be examined during normal business hours at the office of the Eastern Service Center, Federal Aviation Administration, Room 210, 1701 Columbia Ave., College Park, GA 30337. Persons interested in being placed on a mailing list for future NPRMs should contact the FAA’s Office of Rulemaking, (202) 267–9677, for a copy of Advisory Circular No. 11–2A, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Distribution System, which describes the application procedure. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Background The primary purpose of Class B airspace is to reduce the potential for midair collisions in the airspace surrounding airports with high density air traffic operations by providing an area in which all aircraft are subject to certain operating rules and equipment requirements. FAA directives require Class B airspace areas to be designed to contain all instrument procedures and that air traffic controllers vector aircraft as appropriate to remain within Class B airspace after entry. Controllers must inform the aircraft when leaving and entering Class B airspace if it becomes necessary to extend the flight path outside Class B airspace for spacing. However, in the interest of safety, FAA policy dictates that such extensions be the exception rather than the rule. Atlanta Class B Airspace History On May 21, 1970, the FAA issued a final rule that established the Atlanta, GA, Terminal Control Area (TCA) with an effective date of June 25, 1970 (35 FR 7784). The TCA was modified several times during the 1970s to accommodate revised instrument procedures, the addition of a fourth parallel runway, and to ensure that the flight paths of large turbine-powered aircraft remain within the designated airspace. In 1993, as part of the Airspace Reclassification Final Rule (56 FR 65638), the term ‘‘terminal control area’’ was replaced by ‘‘Class B airspace area.’’ A fifth parallel runway became operational at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) in May 2006, enabling the implementation of Simultaneous Triple ILS operations as well as triple departure procedures. The new procedures added additional traffic and complexity to the ATL air traffic operation and the FAA found that not all aircraft could be contained VerDate Mar<15>2010 20:47 Feb 02, 2012 Jkt 226001 within Class B airspace due to the existing design. To address this situation, the FAA issued a final rule in October 2006 (71 FR 60419) that lowered the floor of the Atlanta Class B airspace area from 6,000 feet MSL to 5,000 feet MSL within two small areas (approximately 9 NM by 5 NM), one to the east and one to the west of the airport and between the 20 NM and 25 NM arcs of the Atlanta VORTAC. The rule, however, was an interim measure that didn’t address all issues with the Class B design, and the FAA noted its intent to conduct a thorough review of the Atlanta Class B airspace design for possible future revisions. Except for the changes implemented in the 2006 rule, noted above, the configuration of the Atlanta Class B airspace area has remained largely unchanged since the 1970s. Need for Modification Traffic at ATL has increased dramatically in the years since the airspace was originally designed. The airport has expanded from three parallel runways in the early 1980s to five parallel runways today. The operation has changed from a large contingent of propeller-driven aircraft to an almost all jet fleet today with a varied mix of aircraft types in the terminal area. The operational complexity at ATL also has increased dramatically with the addition of the fifth runway and the introduction of advanced navigation procedures (e.g., RNAV SIDs and STARs), which necessitates additional Class B airspace and more stringent procedures. In addition, there is a renewed safety emphasis on retaining all large turbine-powered aircraft within the Class B airspace to avoid mixing with other aircraft that are not in contact with ATC. The Atlanta operation has outgrown the 1970s airspace design and air traffic controllers often must vector aircraft on inefficient routes in an effort to keep them within Class B airspace. Keeping large jet aircraft within the existing Atlanta Class B airspace is not always possible. For example, arrivals are sometimes required to extend the downwind leg beyond the lateral limits of the existing Class B airspace before turning onto final due to traffic volume. On hot summer days, heavy aircraft on departure are sometimes unable to climb fast enough to stay above the rising floor of the Class B airspace. Clarification of Terms A review of comments received in response to the informal airspace meetings (see below) revealed some confusion over the meaning or application of several terms that apply PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 to published VFR routes. Frequently, the terms are incorrectly used interchangeably. Since the terms are used in this NPRM, the following information is provided to explain the purpose of each type of route. A VFR Corridor is airspace through a Class B airspace area with defined vertical and lateral boundaries in which aircraft may operate without an ATC clearance or communication with ATC. The corridor is, in effect, a ‘‘tunnel’’ through Class B airspace. Due to heavy traffic volume and procedures necessary to manage the flow of traffic, it has not been possible to incorporate VFR corridors in Class B airspace areas in recent years. A VFR Flyway is a general flight path not defined as a specific course for use by pilots in planning flights into, out of, through or near complex terminal airspace to avoid Class B airspace. An ATC clearance is not required to fly these routes. Where established, VFR flyways are depicted on the reverse side of the VFR Terminal Area Chart (TAC), commonly referred to as ‘‘Class B charts.’’ They are designed to assist pilots in planning flights under or around busy Class B airspace without actually entering Class B airspace. A Class B airspace VFR transition route is a route depicted on a TAC to accommodate VFR traffic transiting through a specific Class B airspace area. The route includes a specific flight course and specific ATC-assigned altitudes. Pilots must obtain an ATC clearance prior to entering Class B airspace on the route. See the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) for more information about these routes. Pre-NPRM Public Input In October 2008, the FAA took action to form an Ad Hoc Committee to develop recommendations for the FAA to consider in designing a proposed modification to the Atlanta Class B airspace area. The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) Aviation Programs Office headed the group, which consisted of representatives from airports that underlie the Atlanta Class B airspace area, national aviation organizations, and the ballooning and soaring communities. The Committee met three times between February 2009 and April 2009. As announced in the Federal Register of December 4, 2009 (74 FR 63818), informal airspace meetings were held on February 22, 2010, in Kennesaw, GA; on February 25, 2010, in Covington, GA; on March 1, 2010, in Chamblee, GA; and on March 4, 2010, at Peachtree City Falcon Field, Peachtree City, GA. The purpose E:\FR\FM\03FEP1.SGM 03FEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 23 / Friday, February 3, 2012 / Proposed Rules mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS of the meetings was to provide airspace users an opportunity to present their views and suggestions regarding modifications to the Atlanta Class B airspace area. Discussion of Ad Hoc Committee Recommendations and Comments As a starting point for discussions, a preliminary Class B design was presented to the Ad Hoc Committee for review. In general, the preliminary design consisted of lower Class B floors within a reduced radius of 30 NM from the ATL VORTAC as opposed to the current 35 NM radius. The preliminary design retained the extensions on the southwest and southeast corners as well as proposing new extensions on the northwest and northeast corners that extended out to a 40 NM radius in those areas. The Ad Hoc Committee submitted several recommendations to the FAA regarding the proposed modifications of the Atlanta Class B airspace area. The Committee raised three concerns related to the proposed lower Class B airspace floors, particularly in the airspace directly underlying the final approach courses at ATL. First, the Committee believed there would be increased congestion at lower altitudes due to VFR traffic trying to avoid flying in the Class B airspace area and leaving less room for VFR aircraft to transition the airspace. The Committee recommended the FAA establish transition routes for north and southbound traffic to assist VFR aircraft navigating through the area and to mitigate congestion below the Class B floor. The FAA understands the need for safe routes for VFR aircraft to transition through, around, and under the Class B airspace. The FAA originally considered proposing to lower the Class B floor in the airspace underlying the final approach courses at ATL from the current 3,500 feet MSL to 2,500 feet, which is the minimum vectoring altitude (MVA) in that area. Instead, the FAA proposed to set the floor at 3,000 feet because that altitude would contain all operations that are not currently being contained with the existing 3,500 foot floor. Aircraft executing a missed approach or a go-around from the southern-most runway are climbed to 3,000 feet. This altitude is needed to deconflict traffic with other aircraft at 4,000 feet. Aircraft at 3,000 feet routinely exit the existing Class B airspace, which conflicts with FAA procedures. The procedures cannot be changed due to the lack of available airspace to contain missed approaches. The 3,000 foot Class B floor provides adequate airspace for aircraft to safely VerDate Mar<15>2010 20:47 Feb 02, 2012 Jkt 226001 transition under the Class B airspace and still maintain the required terrain and obstruction clearance. The FAA intends to establish VFR Waypoints and Reporting Points to assist VFR pilot navigation. The new VFR waypoints would be located over areas that can be easily identified visually. The FAA also plans to establish VFR routes that can be used to circumnavigate the Class B airspace when necessary to avoid aircraft operating within the Class B airspace. However, these routes would also be useful as a predetermined route through the Class B airspace when operations permit. In addition to these new VFR waypoints, the FAA intends to establish RNAV T-Routes within Class B airspace for transitioning over the top of ATL. The T-routes would be part of the low altitude IFR enroute structure, but could also serve as VFR transition routes through the Class B for suitably equipped aircraft. Since the routes would enter Class B airspace, an ATC clearance would be required to use the T-routes. Typically, VFR aircraft could be assigned either 4,500 feet or 5,500 feet when transitioning along these routes. The new T-Routes would also make transitioning of IFR aircraft more safe and efficient. The VFR Flyway Planning Chart on the back of the Atlanta Terminal Area Chart would be updated to reflect the new routes and VFR waypoints. However, the FAA does not plan to establish a VFR Flyway or VFR corridor over the top of ATL because that airspace is too congested to accommodate such a flyway or corridor. Second, the Committee was concerned that the lower floors would result in commercial airline traffic flying at lower altitudes in closer proximity to the satellite airports in the ATL area. Therefore, the Committee contended that lower floors could decrease the efficiency of the satellite airports and create IFR delays for arriving and departing traffic at the satellite airports. The FAA looked at the Class B floors over the satellite airports. With the opening of the fifth runway at ATL, departure procedures had to be modified to reduce delays. One procedural modification was to separate the prop and turboprop traffic from traffic lanes used by faster jet aircraft. This resulted in more aircraft being turned north and south off of ATL. The routes that these aircraft take are already in existence and aircraft are already flying in the vicinity of Fulton county Airport-Brown Field (FTY) and DekalbPeachtree (PDK) airports, but below the floor of the existing Class B airspace. Lowering the floor of the Class B airspace over these airports would only PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 5431 ensure that this existing ATL departure traffic is contained within the Class B airspace as required by FAA directives. The change would not affect IFR traffic flows at either FTY or PDK. Also, the lower floor would not impose a lower initial altitude for aircraft departing these airports. Today, all aircraft departing all satellite airports are initially assigned 3,000 feet. Aircraft are then normally assigned 5,000 feet, or higher, upon initial contact with departure control. The assignment of higher altitudes is not dependent on the Class B airspace, but rather on the internal IFR airspace delegations within Atlanta TRACON (A80). This practice would not change because of the proposed modifications of the Class B airspace. There would be no expected increase in delays at satellite airports due to the lowering of the Class B floor. Regarding satellite airport VFR traffic, it is true that lowering the floor of the Class B airspace may affect altitudes that VFR aircraft can initially climb to and still remain outside of the proposed Class B airspace. For example, aircraft departing southbound from Atlanta Regional Airport-Falcon Field (FFC), Newnan Coweta County (CCO), Clayton County-Tara Field (4A7) and GriffinSpalding County (6A2) airports currently are able to climb to about 7,500 feet and still remain outside of the Class B airspace. Lowering the floor would have an impact VFR aircraft departing those airports in that they would have to remain below 6,000 feet or 5,000 feet until clear of the Class B airspace boundary, or request Class B service from A80. With today’s Class B airspace configuration, large turbinepowered aircraft are allowed to mix with smaller aircraft departing the airports listed above. Containing large turbine-powered aircraft within Class B airspace, in compliance with FAA procedures, would increase safety in the area by minimizing the potential mixing of controlled and uncontrolled aircraft. The Committee’s third concern regarding the lower floors was the potential increase in noise complaints from surrounding communities. The FAA understands the concerns of the surrounding communities concerning noise and the effect of lowering the base of the Class B airspace. However, the Class B airspace changes under consideration are not associated with any changes of flight path or altitude. The FAA does not intend to change any existing instrument procedures in conjunction with the proposed Class B changes. As noted above, changes in the Class B airspace are being proposed purely to ensure that existing instrument procedures are contained E:\FR\FM\03FEP1.SGM 03FEP1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 5432 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 23 / Friday, February 3, 2012 / Proposed Rules within the designated Class B airspace. The FAA believes that the noise concerns result from the perception that aircraft would be flying lower if the Class B floor is lowered. Aircraft are already flying in those areas, and at those altitudes, utilizing current FAA procedures, but these aircraft are not presently contained within Class B airspace as required by FAA policy. This proposal is subject to an environmental analysis prior to any FAA final regulatory action. The Committee recommended that the FAA establish visual references to mark the Class B boundaries to assist VFR aircraft that have limited navigation equipment. The FAA agrees and would establish VFR Reporting Points at key points around the Class B airspace area to aid in navigation through and around the area, if this rule is adopted. The Committee recommended that the current 8,000 feet and 6,000 feet Class B airspace floors over PDK be retained, or kept as close to the current altitudes as possible, in order to maintain efficient operations at PDK. Due to the opening of the fifth runway at ATL, departure procedures had to be modified to reduce delays, as described above. Aircraft are already flying in the vicinity of PDK airport. Lowering the floor of the Class B airspace over the satellite airports would only contain the existing ATL departure traffic within the Class B airspace; it would not affect IFR traffic flows at PDK. The Committee also recommended that the Class B floor over Covington Municipal Airport (9A1) not be lowered from 8,000 feet to 4,000 feet as proposed, but that the airport be excluded (i.e., ‘‘cut out’’) from the Class B airspace. After reviewing this recommendation, the FAA found that the airspace over 9A1 could be excluded without an adverse impact to the ATL operation. The proposed Class B airspace boundary has been revised so that 9A1 would be completely outside of Class B airspace. In addition to the above recommendations, the Ad Hoc Committee report listed a number of other concerns about the preliminary design that were not directly tied to a recommendation. These concerns are discussed below. The Committee stated that lower IFR departure altitudes could force faster aircraft to mix with slower aircraft. The proposed design of the Class B would not result in lower IFR departure altitudes. IFR traffic flows would be the same with the proposed Class B airspace design as they are today. The initial departure altitude has been 3,000 feet for all satellite airports since the mid VerDate Mar<15>2010 20:47 Feb 02, 2012 Jkt 226001 1970s. After initial departure, aircraft are normally assigned 5,000 feet until they are clear of other traffic landing at ATL. IFR aircraft are not restricted by the Class B airspace, but rather by other IFR traffic. Once the conflicting traffic is clear, aircraft are routinely cleared to climb into/through the Atlanta Class B airspace. There remains the possibility of faster and slower aircraft mixing at low altitudes outside of the Class B airspace. This, however, is not new and is more a function of satellite airport proximity to the ATL airport than of the Class B airspace. The Committee held that the FAA had not studied the effect of the proposed Class B design on VFR traffic flow. There are two areas where VFR flights would be most affected by the proposed change in the Class B airspace. The first area is below the new proposed 5,000 foot MSL shelf north of ATL. In this area, pilots would have to choose between flying at a lower altitude, circumnavigating the area to the north, or requesting Class B service from A80. Likewise, the area that currently underlies the final approach courses for ATL is proposed to be lowered to 3,000 feet MSL. Again, pilots must choose between flying lower, circumnavigating the area, or requesting Class B service from A80 to transition the area. Large turbine powered aircraft are routinely operating in both of these areas. Class B airspace is necessary in these areas to ensure the highest level of safety possible in the Atlanta terminal area. The Committee raised the issue of flight restrictions over the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, GA, during NASCAR races. The Committee believed that lowering the Class B floor from 8,000 feet to 6,000 feet in that area would cause compression of traffic when a race was in progress. The flight restriction, currently described in FDC NOTAM number 9/ 5151, prohibits flight within a 3 NM radius of the track, up to and including 3,000 feet AGL, during the period from one hour before until one hour after the end of the event. While events subject to the restrictions of this NOTAM occur once a year at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, the restriction does not apply to other Speedway race events. Even when the restriction is in effect, the FAA does not believe that circumnavigating the area would be a significant impact to aircraft operating in the vicinity. As stated in the NOTAM, the restriction does not apply to aircraft authorized by, and in contact with, ATC for operational or safety of flight purposes. Furthermore, aircraft may operate in the restricted airspace to the extent necessary to arrive at or PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 depart from an airport using standard air traffic control procedures. The Committee stated that compressing aircraft lower to the ground as a result of lower Class B floors places aircraft closer to obstacles and terrain, which limits the time pilots have to respond to a mechanical emergency. Pilots must plan their flights to take these potential situations into account. Today, aircraft routinely operate at or below 2,400 feet while transitioning under the existing Class B airspace. This altitude is 600 feet below the floor of the proposed Class B airspace in some areas. This altitude has routinely provided safe obstacle and terrain clearance for aircraft transitioning under the Class B airspace. Instead of lowering the Class B floor, one Committee member suggested that ATC should advise aircraft with poor climb performance that they are leaving the Class B airspace or publish a climb gradient that will allow aircraft to remain within the existing Class B airspace. The need for lower Class B airspace floors to the north and to the south of ATL is based on the requirement to fully contain existing instrument procedures within Class B airspace. These procedures are not fully contained by today’s Class B airspace configuration. Due to internal airspace delegations designed to segregate slower prop and turboprop traffic from turbojet traffic, prop and turboprop aircraft must fly at lower altitudes out to 20NM before they can initiate a climb. This allows enough room for turbojet aircraft to climb above the prop and turboprop aircraft. Additionally, merely advising the aircraft that they are leaving the Class B airspace is not an option. Retaining these aircraft within the Class B airspace is required by FAA policy and is a top safety issue. Since the existing airspace is inadequate, the Class B design needs to be modified. The Committee wrote that the new proposed Class B extensions on the northwest and northeast corners (referred to by commenters as the ‘‘ears’’ or ‘‘wings’’), as well as the existing southwest and southeast extensions, would be difficult to navigate around and that they are unnecessary. The FAA reevaluated this feature and concluded that all four ‘‘ears’’ can be deleted from the proposed design. The Committee believed that the lower Class B floors could impact sailplane operations at the MonroeWalton County Airport (D73) and the West Georgia Regional Airport-O. V. Gray Field (CTJ). It contended that the lower inbound traffic to ATL from the east and the west would infringe on E:\FR\FM\03FEP1.SGM 03FEP1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 23 / Friday, February 3, 2012 / Proposed Rules airspace being used outside of the Class B airspace by sailplanes. Arrival traffic to ATL does not typically fly in the vicinity of those airports. ATL inbounds are routed from the four corners, northeast, northwest, southeast, and southwest. These arrival corridors are well clear of the two airports and are not changing due to the proposed the Class B airspace modifications. The Ad Hoc Committee report also included an alternative Class B design for FAA’s consideration. In part, this design consisted of higher Class B floors than those proposed by the FAA, such as retaining the current 8,000 foot floor north and south of ATL. Also, a large portion of the Class B would have a 6,000 foot floor. A block of Class B airspace would be aligned along the extended centerlines, to the east and west of the airport, with a floor of 2,500 feet from 7 NM to 12 NM, and a base of 3,500 feet MSL from 12 NM out to 20 NM. Surrounding this section on all sides, the Class B floor would be 5,000 feet MSL. The 5,000 foot area would provide for westbound VFR traffic at 4,500 feet MSL north of the airport and eastbound VFR traffic at 3,500 feet MSL south of the airport. The Committee’s proposal would require changing ATC procedures to fit the proposed alternate airspace, instead of changing the airspace to fit the procedures. These procedures, adopted over many years, have proven to be the most efficient for handling the high volume of traffic serving ATL. The main points of the alternative design in the Committee’s report are discussed below. 1. The FAA does not find that the 6,000 foot area would be adequate to contain all large turbine powered aircraft departing ATL. It does not allow enough room for departures to clear internal airspace boundaries that protect ATL jet departures from satellite airport departures. Additionally, on the southeast and southwest corners of the airspace, it does not allow ATL arrival aircraft to get low enough to feed the south final. 2. Raising the Class B airspace floor over the downtown area and the stadiums to 5,000 feet to allow traffic to overfly the FTY Class D airspace area and (when NOTAM 9/5151 is in effect) would be problematic. The current floor over the downtown area would not change in the FAA’s proposed Class B design. The floor of the Class B airspace over the downtown area has been 3,500 feet since at least the mid-1970s and has provided adequate space for aircraft to transition that airspace. A 5,000-foot floor would not allow departures or VerDate Mar<15>2010 20:47 Feb 02, 2012 Jkt 226001 missed approach aircraft to be contained within the Class B airspace. 3. The Committee contended that turboprop departures should not be turned until they can comply with the 5,000 foot floor. This is not operationally feasible because it would require the turboprops to be blended back in with the jets on departure and would greatly reduce departure capacity at ATL. 4. The Committee suggested that ATL missed approaches should be flown as departures unless an emergency exists. This alternative procedure would not allow ATC enough options. The rules that apply to missed approaches in a terminal environment, where multiple runways are being used simultaneously for arrivals and departures, are very complex. They require ATC to retain the maximum flexibility in the operation to ensure that we can effectively separate missed approach and unplanned goarounds from departing aircraft. Sometimes, aircraft will be able to proceed outbound on the departure tracks. Other times aircraft must be turned immediately to avoid aircraft departing simultaneously from a parallel runway. 5. The Committee also contended that long, low, finals are not needed. Currently, aircraft are turned on to parallel finals at ATL between 3,500 feet and 7,000 feet MSL. FAA Order JO 7110.65 requires that aircraft being turned onto parallel finals be separated by 3 miles longitudinal or 1,000 feet vertical separation until they are established on final approach course. It is more efficient to turn the aircraft on final with vertical separation. Raising the altitude that aircraft are turned on to parallel finals would result in even longer finals and would require Class B extensions beyond 30NM. The FAA has been able to reduce the size of the proposed Class B on the east and west sides to less than 30 NM based on the existing procedures. Discussion of Informal Airspace Meeting Comments Over 150 comments were received in response to the informal airspace meetings. Two commenters wrote in support of the proposal, while the remaining comments opposed various aspects of the proposed Class B modifications. One commenter contended that the proposed Class B changes are premature since ATL flights declined in 2009 and could continue to do so over the next decade due to the U.S. economic downturn. According to the commenter, the current Class B should be left in PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 5433 place and reviewed again in five or ten years. While economic swings may happen periodically, the volume of traffic and passenger boardings at ATL remain extremely high. Passenger boardings at ATL declined by just over three percent from 2008 to 2009, but even so, boardings exceeded 42 million passengers (over eight times the threshold to qualify for Class B airspace). Calendar year 2010 data show a two percent rise in boardings from the previous year. Similarly, airport operations declined slightly from 2008 to 2009, but still totaled over 970,000 operations (more than three times the number to qualify for Class B airspace). The proposed airspace changes are necessary to ensure safety of flight. Nevertheless, the FAA would continue to periodically evaluate the airspace design and may propose changes in the future if circumstances dictate. Some commenters suggested that the ATL Class B airspace should be set up like that in Seattle, WA, but aligned along ATL’s east/west approaches and departures with fixes outbound so traffic is strung out over a larger area east- and west-bound. They contended that this alignment would leave the northern satellite airports free to expedite their arrivals/departures; while ATL missed approaches could fly straight out. Each Class B airspace area design is individually tailored to fit the operational needs of the primary airport. Atlanta’s airspace system could not be set up like Seattle due to the many differences between the two operations. West coast facilities are able to take advantage of the fact that the majority of the traffic arrives from the same direction (east) while Atlanta traffic arrives from all directions. The Seattle Class B design is influenced by high terrain to the east and northwest as well as special use airspace northwest and southwest of the area. Additionally, the Atlanta operation is much larger than Seattle, involving five runways versus three, and accommodating over three times the number of airport operations. Seattle’s Class B configuration simply would not provide sufficient airspace to contain Atlanta’s operations. Regarding missed approaches, ATL missed approach aircraft cannot always fly straight out because aircraft departing from other runways also occupy the same airspace. In the FAA’s proposed design, the size of the Atlanta Class B would be reduced so that all Class B airspace beyond 30 NM would be eliminated. One commenter wrote that the proposed ‘‘wings’’ in the four quadrants E:\FR\FM\03FEP1.SGM 03FEP1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 5434 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 23 / Friday, February 3, 2012 / Proposed Rules should be retained because eliminating the wings exposes arriving aircraft below 10,000 feet to transitory nonparticipating aircraft circumnavigating the Class B airspace. The FAA has reevaluated the proposed Class B extensions. The existing and proposed ‘‘wings’’ extended beyond the 30 NM Class B lateral limit as provided in FAA Order JO 7400.2H. The vertical and lateral limits of the area are designed to contain all instrument procedures within Class B airspace. In this proposal, the outer limits of the proposed Class B have been reduced to a maximum of 30 NM from ATL to meet FAA policy and to address Ad Hoc Committee comments that the ‘‘wings’’ should be reduced or eliminated. One commenter contended that aircraft will be unable to identify the lateral boundaries on the ‘‘45s’’ (Note: the ‘‘45s’’ refers to those Class B boundary lines currently described by the ATL VORTAC 323°, 031°, 138° and 218° radials) because they would no longer be based on ATL VORTAC radials. In addition, the east and west Class B boundaries would be difficult to identify because they are defined by longitude lines rather than DME. The FAA has found that, in the current Class B design, some of the boundaries that are defined by radials and DME are the same areas where aircraft are consistently leaving the Class B airspace. Due to the position of the ATL VORTAC, if radials were used to describe the proposed realigned ‘‘45s,’’ it would result in the designation of more Class B airspace than is needed to contain current operations. An increasing number of general and business aviation users are now RNAV or RNAV GPS equipped. Additionally, pilots may request vectors to remain clear of Class B airspace. The Ad Hoc Committee concurred with the use of GPS in defining certain area boundaries. Many commenters were concerned about the perceived impacts of the proposed changes on VFR operations in the Atlanta terminal area. It was stated that the FAA did not fully determine the impact on VFR aircraft flying beneath the Class B airspace. In response, a new study was done, which found that, of the 7,123 flights observed in the vicinity of PDK, 141 were operating above 5,000 feet MSL. With almost 98% of the aircraft flying in that area already operating below 5,000 feet MSL, lowering the floor of Class B airspace to 5,000 feet MSL would not significantly impact VFR operations. However, many commenters echoed concerns also raised by the Ad Hoc Committee that the lower Class B floors VerDate Mar<15>2010 20:47 Feb 02, 2012 Jkt 226001 would cause the compression of VFR traffic beneath the Class B and/or require pilots to fly further to deviate around the Class B airspace. Commenters said that the changes could increase the potential for midair collisions, reduce the airspace available for avoiding Class D airspace areas and obstructions in the ATL terminal area, and leave pilots with less time and altitude to react to inflight emergency situations or locate a suitable emergency landing site. The FAA acknowledges these concerns and recognizes that compression could occur for some VFR operations. However, with the existing Class B configuration, VFR aircraft that are not in communication with ATC are currently mixing with turbine-powered ATL traffic. The FAA weighed the impacts to VFR pilots flying lower or choosing to circumnavigate the Class B airspace against the safety of having large turbine-powered aircraft flying at altitudes that are not contained within Class B airspace. Considering the heavy concentration of operations by all types of aircraft in the Atlanta terminal area, we believe the operation of large turbine-powered aircraft outside the Class B airspace poses a greater safety risk. Lowering the floor of the Class B airspace increases safety by segregating large turbine-powered aircraft from aircraft that may not be in contact with ATC. As always, it is the pilot’s prerogative and responsibility to evaluate these factors and determine the safest course of action for any given flight. One commenter opposed the lowering of the Class B floor in the vicinity of PDK from 8,000 feet to 5,000 feet because it could cause compression of VFR aircraft given the fact that the PDK Class D airspace ceiling is 3,500 feet. The existing Class B floor above PDK is 8,000 feet, while immediately to the east and south of PDK, the existing floor is 6,000 feet. Under the proposed Class B changes, the floor of Class B airspace above the southern half of the PDK Class D airspace would be 5,000 feet; to the northeast, the floor would be 6,000 feet; and to the northwest, the floor would be 7,000 feet. This would still give pilots room to navigate north of the PDK airport eastbound at 5,500 feet. It is true that the proposed change would eliminate the 5,500 foot VFR altitude over the southern half of the PDK Class D airspace. This may require the pilot to make a choice to fly eastbound below 3,000 feet AGL or to fly further north in order to fly above 3,000 feet AGL and below the Class B airspace. Other commenters argued that the proposed 3,000 foot floor on the east PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 and west sides of the area would make it more difficult for VFR aircraft to navigate around the city and get from north-to-south and vice versa. The commenters asked that more waypointdriven VFR routes be developed around the city, and that a ‘‘corridor’’ used by A80 to route aircraft over ATL be publicized and added to the Sectional Chart and be made a more routine choice for VFR pilots. Regarding the proposed 3,000 foot floor, the existing Class B floor in those areas is 3,500 feet MSL. Today, aircraft landing at ATL are intercepting the southern final approach course farther from the airport than needed to meet the present Class B separation criteria. During Triple ILS approaches, aircraft are required to maintain 1,000 feet vertical separation until established on the final approach courses. This mandates an aircraft final approach interception point that is two NM farther from the airport than would be required if the Class B floor was lowered to 3,000 feet. The proposed 3,000-foot floor would allow aircraft to be turned onto the final approach course closer to the airport which would increase efficiency, save fuel and reduce emissions. Additionally, lowering the floor to 3,000 feet would allow Visual Approaches to be conducted more often, which is the most efficient arrival operation at ATL. The proposed 3,000 foot floor would produce a safer airspace environment for aircraft arriving at the world’s busiest airport. Flying VFR under the lowest floor of the Class B airspace always requires the pilot in command to evaluate traffic that may be flying overhead within the Class B as well as terrain, obstructions and emergency landing options and determine the best and safest course of action for the planned flight. Regarding waypoint-driven VFR routes, the Atlanta TAC would be revised to contain VFR flyways as well as GPS intersections/waypoints to assist VFR pilot navigation. In regard to the comment about A80’s ‘‘corridor’’ over the top of Atlanta, this is not the same thing as a ‘‘VFR corridor’’ as described in the Clarification of Terms section, above. The A80 Satellite Sectors are assigned airspace within the Class B that can be used to transition aircraft north and south. This airspace delegation is adjusted based on the operational runway configuration in use at ATL. It is a 6 NM wide north/south airspace area that overlies the approach side of the arrival runways. Its primary use is to route IFR aircraft departing airports north of VOR Federal airway V–18 that are filed to destinations south of the E:\FR\FM\03FEP1.SGM 03FEP1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 23 / Friday, February 3, 2012 / Proposed Rules Atlanta area. It is also used when operationally advantageous to route some aircraft northbound that are landing at airports to the north and within A80’s airspace. This small, high traffic density ‘‘corridor,’’ encompassing 5,000 to 6,000 feet, is used by air traffic controllers to efficiently flow and meter Atlanta satellite airport aircraft. Since the location of the ‘‘corridor’’ shifts based on the direction of operations at ATL, it would be impractical to publish the locations on aeronautical charts. Clearance into the area is based on traffic and the workload of the Satellite Controllers. It is intended for controller operational use. Pilots may request use of the ‘‘corridor’’ and controllers may approve the request when appropriate. VFR aircraft flying in this airspace are required to obtain a Class B clearance. Several commenters said that the FAA should have considered establishing VFR corridors through the Class B airspace to offset the issue of flying beneath the lower Class B floors. The FAA considered a VFR corridor, however, since a VFR corridor permits flight through Class B airspace without an ATC clearance or radio communications requirements, the idea was not adopted due to the high volume of traffic, the amount of airspace required to create a useful corridor, and the potential effects on safety considering weather and missed approach procedures. One commenter requested that the FAA establish ‘‘traffic dependent routes’’ that could be used to allow more direct routes to FTY and PDK when traffic, time and weather conditions permit. ‘‘Traffic dependent routes’’ are currently being discussed with A80 separately from this Class B proposal process. Class B airspace would have no effect on the implementation of ‘‘traffic dependent routes.’’ One commenter noted a lack of IFR arrival routes into the satellite airports for use by smaller, but technically advanced, aircraft. Currently, the DIFFI ONE, JRAMS TWO (RNAV) and the TRBOW EIGHT Standard Terminal Arrivals (STARs) are in effect. These STARs were designed to facilitate all types of aircraft inbound from the south of Atlanta that have filed to airports north of Atlanta that are within A80’s airspace. It is important to note that these STARs are also designed to keep aircraft that are not landing at the Atlanta Airport safely outside of the Atlanta base leg arrival traffic as well as Atlanta departing traffic. Several commenters suggested that lowering the Class B floors would result in increased IFR departure delays from VerDate Mar<15>2010 20:47 Feb 02, 2012 Jkt 226001 satellite airports such as FTY and PDK. The existence of Class B airspace has no impact on delays from these airports. The determining factors for delays are normally traffic volume and weather. No additional IFR aircraft would be introduced into the airspace over these airports, so the traffic that flows through the affected airspace is already there. Where aircraft fly today in that area is where they would fly if the new airspace is implemented. The only difference is that, if the new Class B is implemented, those aircraft would be contained within the Class B airspace. IFR aircraft departing from satellite airports would not be artificially held down due to a change in the floor of the Class B airspace. Any IFR delays experienced by the satellite airports should be of the same frequency and magnitude as those experienced today. There is also a perception that IFR aircraft departing satellite airports are kept out of the Class B airspace. This is not the case. With the proposed Class B airspace, aircraft departing satellite airports would be worked within Class B airspace much more often. For example, a turbojet aircraft departing Runway 8 at FTY going eastbound is normally assigned 5,000 feet MSL shortly after takeoff. Today, that aircraft is outside Class B airspace. If the proposed Class B change is implemented, that same aircraft would still be assigned 5,000 feet but would be contained within Class B airspace. A pilot who flies out of Gwinnett County Airport-Briscoe Field (LZU) (in comparing his current operations below the existing 6,000 foot floor, to the north of Atlanta) stated that if the Class B floor is lowered to 5,000 feet in that area, he could not legally fly VFR at 3,000 feet AGL. Aircraft operating below Class B airspace north of Atlanta may transition west bound at 4,500 feet MSL and eastbound at 3,500 feet MSL. These altitudes ensure that VFR aircraft are outside of Class B airspace and will remain above the FTY Class D airspace area. In this instance, there are at least three options for VFR aircraft: 1. Alter course to avoid the FTY, Dobbins ARB (MGE), DeKalb-Peachtree (PDK) and Cobb County-McCollum Field (RYY) Class D airspace areas at 3,500 MSL; 2. Ask for VFR Flight Following from A80. If VFR aircraft are receiving VFR Flight Following from A80, they can transit these Class D airspace areas without having to contact each individual control tower; or 3. Fly just north of an east/west line over PDK which will put VFR aircraft in an area where the lower limit of Class B is either 6,000 or 7,000 MSL. This PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 5435 airspace can be transited at 5,500 feet MSL while remaining outside the Class B and Class D airspace areas. Another commenter said that extending the Class B airspace to LZU would require pilots on approach to Runway 7 to fly under the Class B shelf which could discourage access by light sport pilots and students. The commenter asked that the Class B boundary be moved farther from LZU to allow several miles for extended downwind. Since the existing Class B airspace extends out to 35 NM, today the LZU airport totally underlies a shelf of Class B airspace. With the proposed Class B design, LZU airport would be completely outside the Class B boundary. Aircraft approaching Runway 7 may still need to fly under a 6,000 foot Class B floor, but this floor is well above traffic pattern altitude and leaves plenty of room for aircraft to maneuver. The proposed design would be much less restrictive to LZU airport operations than the existing airspace. One commenter believed that lowering the Class B floor would cause the existing VFR ‘‘corridors’’ to be within Class B airspace, thus defeating the purpose of the ‘‘corridors.’’ ATL does not have VFR corridors in either the current or proposed airspace design. The FAA believes that the commenter is referring, instead, to the charted VFR flyways depicted on the reverse side of the Atlanta VFR Terminal Area Chart. If the proposed airspace is implemented, these flyways will be amended based on the Class B changes. The FAA intends to develop additional flyways and to add GPS waypoints to the chart to assist pilots in navigating around the area. The FAA has no plans to develop a VFR corridor within the Atlanta Class B airspace area because the airspace is simply too congested. Over 90 comments concerned impacts of the proposal on the communities around PDK airport, including: Increased noise and air pollution; lower property values and inability to sell homes; detrimental effect on local businesses; reduced tax revenues; and decreased quality of life. Noise complaints were a recurring issue because many commenters believed that lowering the floor of the Class B airspace would cause aircraft to fly lower over residential areas resulting in increased noise for their communities. The FAA is not proposing to change existing air traffic procedures or flight paths, therefore, where aircraft fly today is where they would continue to fly if the proposed Class B changes are implemented. As stated previously, the reason for the proposed Class B change is to comply with agency policy to E:\FR\FM\03FEP1.SGM 03FEP1 5436 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 23 / Friday, February 3, 2012 / Proposed Rules mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS contain large turbine-powered aircraft arriving and departing ATL within Class B airspace on the routes they are currently flying. Therefore, the Class B changes should not cause an increase of over-flight noise from what residents are experiencing today. Additionally, there is a perception that Hartsfield jets will begin flying lower over residential areas near PDK airport due to the lowering of the Class B floor. The FAA does not intend to change where aircraft fly today. ATL arrivals are operating in the area in question at 6,000 feet today and they will continue to operate at that altitude in the future. As previously discussed, the purpose of the proposed lowering of the Class B floor to 5,000 feet is to encompass ATL departures that are already operating in that area at 5,000 feet underneath the arrivals (but outside the confines of Class B airspace). ATL arrival flows could not be lowered from 6,000 feet to 5,000 feet without also lowering the departures down to 4,000 feet in order to be below the arrivals with proper separation. This would require the Class B floor to be even lower at 4,000 feet, but that is not being considered. Since arrivals and departures to both ATL and PDK will continue to operate at the same altitudes as they do today, none of the above impacts would result from the proposed Class B changes. In fact, the vast majority of noise being experienced by residents is caused by aircraft at or below 3,000 feet MSL when taking off from, or landing at, PDK. These aircraft will continue to fly at those altitudes regardless of any changes made to the Atlanta Class B airspace. The proposed Class B changes would have no effect, positive or negative, on noise generated by aircraft arriving or departing PDK. Therefore, lowering the floor of Class B airspace to 5,000 feet MSL would not have an appreciable effect on the amount of noise experienced by residents in the neighborhoods surrounding PDK. Two commenters wrote that a new reliever airport should be constructed in the Atlanta area to support the growth of air travel and preclude the need for modifying the Class B airspace. This suggestion is outside the scope of this proposed rulemaking effort. The Proposal The FAA is proposing an amendment to Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 71 to modify the Atlanta Class B airspace area. This action (depicted on the attached chart) proposes to lower the floor of Class B airspace to ensure the containment of large turbine-powered aircraft, reduce VerDate Mar<15>2010 20:47 Feb 02, 2012 Jkt 226001 the outer lateral dimensions of the area for more efficient airspace utilization, and update the Atlanta airport geographic position to reflect the current airport survey information. The Class B airspace ceiling would remain at 12,500 feet MSL. The proposed revisions of the Atlanta Class B airspace area are outlined below. Area A. Area A is the surface area that extends from the ground up to 12,500 feet MSL. The FAA is not proposing any changes to Area A. Area B. A revised Area B is proposed consisting of that airspace extending upward from 2,500 feet MSL east and west of the Atlanta airport. The revised Area B would combine two existing subareas, B and C. The existing area B consists of a small segment of airspace, east of the ATL airport that extends upward from 2,100 feet MSL between the 7 and 9-mile radii of the Atlanta VORTAC. The existing Area C includes that airspace extending upward from 2,500 feet MSL, east and west of Atlanta airport between the 7 and 12 NM radius of the Atlanta VORTAC. With this change, the existing 2,100-foot floor of Class B airspace would be eliminated. Area C. Area C is redefined to include that airspace that extends upward from 3,000 feet MSL (as described above, the existing Area C extends upward from 2,500 feet MSL). The new Area C would lower the existing floor of Class B airspace from 3,500 feet MSL to 3,000 feet MSL. Currently, Area D includes the airspace extending upward from 3,500 feet MSL. With this proposal, most of the airspace now in Area D would be incorporated into the new Area C (with the lower 3,000-foot floor). Area D. This area would still consist of that airspace extending upward from 3,500 feet MSL. However, it would be significantly reduced in size due to the modification of Area C, described above. The revised Area D would include only that airspace bounded on the south by a line 4 miles north of and parallel to the Runway 08L/26R localizer course, and on the north by a line 8 miles north of and parallel to the above mentioned localizer courses. The revised Area D would be bounded on the west by long. 84°51′38″ W., and on the east by long. 84°00′32″ W. Area E. This area would continue to include the airspace extending upward from 4,000 feet MSL, but it would be modified incorporating a small segment of Class B airspace, south of ATL that currently extends upward from 6,000 feet MSL. In addition, Area E would incorporate the two segments, currently extending upward from 5,000 feet MSL that were added by the October 2006 PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 rule as discussed in the Background section, above. Area F. Area F consists of that airspace extending upward from 5,000 feet MSL. The area currently is composed of four small segments, one southwest of ATL, one southeast and the two segments east and west of ATL that were designated in the October 2006 rule. These four areas would be removed from Area F and incorporated into other subareas with lower floors. The modified Area F would be located north of ATL within the area bounded on the south by a line 8 miles north of and parallel to the Runway 08L/26R localizer courses, and on the north by a line 13.5 miles north of and parallel to the above mentioned localizer courses. On the east and west, Area F would be bounded approximately by the 30 NM radius of the Atlanta VORTAC. The effect of this change would be to lower the floor of Class B airspace from 6,000 feet MSL to 5,000 feet MSL in the described area. Area G. Area G contains that airspace extending upward from 6,000 feet MSL. Currently, Area G consists of airspace north of ATL, which would largely be incorporated into the revised Area F. The revised Area G would consist of the airspace bounded approximately between the Atlanta VORTAC 30 NM radius on the south, and a line 12 miles south of and parallel to the Runway 10/ 28 localizer courses. Area H. This area consists of two airspace segments that extend upward from 5,000 feet MSL, one located southwest and one located southeast of ATL. The Area H segments would be bounded on the north by a line 12 miles south of and parallel to the Runway 10/ 28 localizer courses and on the south by the 30 NM radius of the Atlanta VORTAC, excluding the airspace within Area G as described above. Area I. Area I is redefined to consist of the airspace extending upward from 7,000 feet MSL north of ATL. The revised Area I would be bounded on the north side by the 30 NM radius of the Atlanta VORTAC; on the south by a line 13.5 NM north of and parallel to the Runway 08L/26R localizer courses; on the east by a line from lat. 33°52′25″ N., long. 84°19′08″ W. direct to lat. 34°04′20″ N., long. 84°09′24″ W.; and on the west by a line from lat 33°53′28″ N., long. 84°36′07″ W. This change would lower the floor of Class B airspace from 8,000 feet MSL to 7,000 feet MSL in the defined area. Area J. Area J would be a new subarea to describe that airspace extending upward from 6,000 feet MSL in two segments, one northwest and one northeast, of ATL. One segment would E:\FR\FM\03FEP1.SGM 03FEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 23 / Friday, February 3, 2012 / Proposed Rules abut the west side of Area I and the other segment would abut the east side of Area I. The two segments would abut the northern boundary of Area F, with the 30 NM radius of the Atlanta VORTAC defining their northern edges. Area J would lower part of the Class B airspace floor from 8,000 feet MSL to 6,000 feet MSL in the northwest and northeast sections of the area. If the above proposed changes are implemented, all existing Class B airspace that lies outside the 30 NM radius of the Atlanta VORTAC would be eliminated. These changes are being proposed to ensure the containment of large turbine-powered aircraft within Class B airspace as required by FAA directives to enhance safety and the efficient management of air traffic in the Atlanta, GA terminal area. The geographic coordinates in this proposal are stated in degrees, minutes and seconds based on North American Datum 83. Class B airspace areas are published in paragraph 3000 of FAA Order 7400.9V, dated August 9, 2011, and effective September 15, 2011, which is incorporated by reference in 14 CFR 71.1. The Class B airspace area proposed in this document would be published subsequently in the Order. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Paperwork Reduction Act The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3507(d)) requires that the FAA consider the impact of paperwork and other information collection burdens imposed on the public. We have determined that there is no new information collection requirement associated with this final rule. Regulatory Evaluation Summary Changes to Federal regulations must undergo several economic analyses. First, Executive Order 12866 and Executive Order 13563 directs that each Federal agency shall propose or adopt a regulation only upon a reasoned determination that the benefits of the intended regulation justify its costs. Second, the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96–354) requires agencies to analyze the economic impact of regulatory changes on small entities. Third, the Trade Agreements Act (Pub. L. 96–39) prohibits agencies from setting standards that create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of the United States. In developing U.S. standards, the Trade Act requires agencies to consider international standards and, where appropriate, that they be the basis of U.S. standards. Fourth, the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104–4) requires agencies to prepare a VerDate Mar<15>2010 20:47 Feb 02, 2012 Jkt 226001 written assessment of the costs, benefits, and other effects of proposed or final rules that include a Federal mandate likely to result in the expenditure by State, local, or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more annually (adjusted for inflation with base year of 1995). This portion of the preamble summarizes the FAA’s analysis of the economic impacts of this proposed rule. Department of Transportation Order DOT 2100.5 prescribes policies and procedures for simplification, analysis, and review of regulations. If the expected cost impact is so minimal that a proposed or final rule does not warrant a full evaluation, this order permits that a statement to that effect and the basis for it be included in the preamble if a full regulatory evaluation of the cost and benefits is not prepared. Such a determination has been made for this proposed rule. The reasoning for this determination follows: This action proposes to modify the Atlanta, GA, Class B airspace area to ensure the containment of aircraft within Class B airspace, reduce controller workload and enhance safety in the Atlanta, GA, terminal area. It lowers the Class B Airspace in some sections to encompass existing IFR traffic. Lowering the floor of the Class B airspace would increase safety by segregating large turbine-powered aircraft from aircraft that may not be in contact with ATC. It would also increase safety and reduce air traffic controller workload by reducing the number of radio communications that air traffic controllers must use to inform IFR aircraft when they are leaving and re-entering Class B airspace. This would reduce the amount of distraction that air traffic controllers face in issuing these communications and free radio time for more important control instructions. IFR traffic would not be rerouted as a result of this proposal. The change may cause some VFR pilots to have to choose between flying lower, circumnavigating the area, or requesting Class B service from A80 to transition the area. This has the potential of increasing costs to VFR pilots if the alternative routes are longer, take more time and burn more fuel. The FAA believes, however, that there would be minimal impact to VFR aircraft operating where the Class B floor would be lowered. Where the floor would be lowered to 5,000 feet, an FAA sampling of VFR traffic found that 98 percent of 7123 VFR flights were already operating below 5,000 feet. Where the floor would be lowered to 3,000 feet, we believe there is sufficient airspace to allow safe flight below the PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 5437 Class B airspace. The minimum vectoring altitude (based in part on obstruction clearance) under most of the proposed 3,000-foot floor is 2,500 feet. VFR aircraft can and do fly safely at 2,000 feet under the existing Class B floor. Recognizing that some VFR aircraft may elect to circumnavigate instead of flying lower, it is only a short deviation in distance and time would be needed to place the aircraft beneath a higher Class B floor. The FAA intends to take actions that would increase the alternatives available to VFR pilots. For instance, if this proposal is adopted, the FAA intends to establish VFR Waypoints and Reporting Points to assist VFR pilot navigation, and to establish VFR routes that can be used to circumnavigate the Class B airspace or used as a predetermined route through the Class B airspace when operations permit. In addition to these new VFR waypoints, the FAA would establish RNAV T– Routes within Class B airspace for transitioning over the top of ATL airports. These various alternatives should provide pilots with options that would assist them in navigating around or beneath the Class B and/or to request ATC clearance to cut through the Class B. The FAA believes that no more than a small percent of VFR traffic would choose to travel longer, less efficient or more costly routes because safe flight would still be possible beneath most of the Class B airspace, A80 would continue to provide VFR services to assist pilots in transiting the area, and only short course deviations would be needed if pilots decide to avoid the areas with lower Class B floors. The FAA would have to update maps and charts to indicate the airspace modifications, but these documents are updated regularly. These modifications would be made within the normal updating process and therefore would not contribute to the cost of the rule since the updates would be as scheduled. The proposed rule redefines Class B airspace boundaries to improve safety, would not require updating of materials outside the normal update cycle, would not require rerouting of IFR traffic, and is expected to possibly cause some VFR traffic to travel alternative routes which are not expected to be appreciably longer than with the current airspace design. The expected outcome would be a minimal impact with positive net benefits, and a regulatory evaluation was not prepared. The FAA requests comments with supporting justification about the FAA determination of minimal impact. E:\FR\FM\03FEP1.SGM 03FEP1 5438 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 23 / Friday, February 3, 2012 / Proposed Rules mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS FAA has, therefore, determined that this proposed rule is not a ‘‘significant regulatory action’’ as defined in section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, and is not ‘‘significant’’ as defined in DOT’s Regulatory Policies and Procedures. compliance costs unique to small entities. Please provide detailed economic analysis to support any cost claims. The FAA also invites comments regarding other small entity concerns with respect to the proposed rule. Initial Regulatory Flexibility Determination The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96–354) (RFA) establishes ‘‘as a principle of regulatory issuance that agencies shall endeavor, consistent with the objectives of the rule and of applicable statutes, to fit regulatory and informational requirements to the scale of the businesses, organizations, and governmental jurisdictions subject to regulation. To achieve this principle, agencies are required to solicit and consider flexible regulatory proposals and to explain the rationale for their actions to assure that such proposals are given serious consideration.’’ The RFA covers a wide-range of small entities, including small businesses, not-forprofit organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions. Agencies must perform a review to determine whether a rule will have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. If the agency determines that it will, the agency must prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis as described in the RFA. However, if an agency determines that a rule is not expected to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, section 605(b) of the RFA provides that the head of the agency may so certify and a regulatory flexibility analysis is not required. The certification must include a statement providing the factual basis for this determination, and the reasoning should be clear. The proposed rule is expected to improve safety by redefining Class B airspace boundaries and would impose only minimal costs because it would not require rerouting of IFR traffic, could possibly cause some VFR traffic to travel alternative routes that are not expected to be appreciably longer than with the current airspace design, and would not require updating of materials outside the normal update cycle. Therefore, the expected outcome would be a minimal economic impact on small entities affected by this rulemaking action. Therefore, the FAA certifies this proposed rule, if promulgated, would not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. The FAA solicits comments regarding this determination. Specifically, the FAA requests comments on whether the proposed rule creates any specific International Trade Impact Assessment The Trade Agreements Act of 1979 (Pub. L. 96–39), as amended by the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (Pub. L. 103–465), prohibits Federal agencies from establishing standards or engaging in related activities that create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of the United States. Pursuant to these Acts, the establishment of standards is not considered an unnecessary obstacle to the foreign commerce of the United States, so long as the standard has a legitimate domestic objective, such the protection of safety, and does not operate in a manner that excludes imports that meet this objective. The statute also requires consideration of international standards and, where appropriate, that they be the basis for U.S. standards. The FAA has assessed the potential effect of this proposed rule and determined that it would have only a domestic impact and therefore no affect on international trade VerDate Mar<15>2010 20:47 Feb 02, 2012 Jkt 226001 Unfunded Mandates Assessment Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104–4) requires each Federal agency to prepare a written statement assessing the effects of any Federal mandate in a proposed or final agency rule that may result in an expenditure of $100 million or more (in 1995 dollars) in any one year by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector; such a mandate is deemed to be a ‘‘significant regulatory action.’’ The FAA currently uses an inflation-adjusted value of $143.1 million in lieu of $100 million. This proposed rule does not contain such a mandate; therefore, the requirements of Title II of the Act do not apply. Environmental Review This proposal will be subject to an environmental analysis in accordance with FAA Order 1050.1E, ‘‘Environmental Impacts: Policies and Procedures,’’ prior to any FAA final regulatory action. List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 71 Airspace, Incorporation by reference, Navigation (air). The Proposed Amendment In consideration of the foregoing, the Federal Aviation Administration PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 proposes to amend 14 CFR part 71 as follows: PART 71—DESIGNATION OF CLASS A, B, C, D, AND E AIRSPACE AREAS; AIR TRAFFIC SERVICE ROUTES; AND REPORTING POINTS 1. The authority citation for part 71 continues to read as follows: Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40103, 40113, 40120; E.O. 10854, 24 FR 9565, 3 CFR, 1959– 1963 Comp., p. 389. § 71.1 [Amended] 2. The incorporation by reference in 14 CFR 71.1 of the Federal Aviation Administration Order 7400.9V, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 9, 2011, and effective September 15, 2011, is amended as follows: Paragraph 3000 Airspace Subpart B—Class B * * * * * ASO GA B Atlanta, GA [Revised] Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (Primary Airport) (Lat. 33°38′12″ N., long. 84°25′41″ W.) Atlanta VORTAC (Lat. 33°37′45″ N., long. 84°26′06″ W.) Boundaries Area A. That airspace extending upward from the surface to and including 12,500 feet MSL, bounded on the east and west by a 7mile radius of the Atlanta VORTAC, on the south by a line 4 miles south of and parallel to the Runway 10/28 localizer courses, and on the north by a line 4 miles north of and parallel to the Runway 08L/26R localizer courses; excluding the Atlanta Fulton County Airport-Brown Field, GA, Class D airspace area. Area B. That airspace extending upward from 2,500 feet MSL to and including 12,500 feet MSL, bounded on the east and west by a 12-mile radius of the Atlanta VORTAC, on the south by a line 4 miles south of and parallel to the Runway 10/28 localizer courses, and on the north by a line 4 miles north of and parallel to the Runway 08L/26R localizer courses; excluding the Atlanta Fulton County Airport-Brown Field, GA, Class D airspace area and that airspace contained in Area A. Area C. That airspace extending upward from 3,000 feet MSL to and including 12,500 feet MSL, bounded on the east by long. 84°00′32″ W., on the west by long. 84°51′38″ W., on the south by a line 8 miles south of and parallel to the Runway 10/28 localizer courses, and on the north by a line 4 miles north of and parallel to the Runway 08L/26R localizer courses; excluding that airspace contained in Areas A and B. Area D. That airspace extending upward from 3,500 feet MSL to and including 12,500 feet MSL, bounded on the east by long. 84°00′32″ W., on the west by long. 84°51′38″ W., on the south by a line 4 miles north of and parallel to the Runway 08L/26R localizer courses, and on the north by a line 8 miles E:\FR\FM\03FEP1.SGM 03FEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 23 / Friday, February 3, 2012 / Proposed Rules mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS north of and parallel to the Runway 08L/26R localizer courses. Area E. That airspace extending upward from 4,000 feet MSL to and including 12,500 feet MSL, bounded on the east by long. 83°54′04″ W., on the west by long. 84°57′41″ W., on the south by a line 12 miles south of and parallel to the Runway 10/28 localizer courses and on the north by a line 8 miles north of and parallel to the Runway 08L/26R localizer courses; excluding that airspace contained in Areas A, B, C, and D. Area F. That airspace extending upward from 5,000 feet MSL to and including 12,500 feet MSL, within a 30-mile radius of the Atlanta VORTAC and bounded on the east by long. 83°54′04″ W., on the south by a line 8 miles north of and parallel to the Runway 08L/26R localizer courses, on the west by long. 84°57′41″ W., and on the north by a line 13.5 miles north of and parallel to the Runway 08L/26R localizer courses. VerDate Mar<15>2010 20:47 Feb 02, 2012 Jkt 226001 Area G. That airspace extending upward from 6,000 feet MSL to and including 12,500 feet MSL bounded on the north by a line 12 miles south of and parallel to the Runway 10/ 28 localizer courses, on the east by a line from lat. 33°25′20″ N., long. 84°16′49″ W. direct to lat. 33°15′33″ N., long. 84°01′55″ W., on the south by a 30-mile radius of the Atlanta VORTAC, and on the west by a line from lat. 33°25′25″ N., long. 84°33′32″ W. direct to lat. 33°18′26″ N., long. 84°42′56″ W., thence south via long. 84°42′56″ W. Area H. That airspace extending upward from 5,000 feet MSL to and including 12,500 feet MSL, within a 30-mile radius of the Atlanta VORTAC south of a line 12 miles south of and parallel to the Runway 10/28 localizer courses, bounded on the west by long 84°57′41″ W. and on the east by long. 83°54′04″ W.; excluding that airspace within the lateral limits of area G. Area I. That airspace extending upward from 7,000 feet MSL to and including 12,500 PO 00000 Frm 00025 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 5439 feet MSL bounded on the north by the 30mile radius of the Atlanta VORTAC, on the east by a line from lat. 33°52′25″ N., long. 84°19′08″ W. direct to lat. 34°04′20″ N., long. 84°09′24″ W., on the south by a line 13.5 miles north of and parallel to the Runway 08L/26R localizer courses, and on the west by a line from lat. 33°52′28″ N., long. 84°36′07″ W. direct to lat. 34°01′40″ N., long. 84°47′55″ W. Area J. That airspace extending upward from 6,000 feet MSL to and including 12,500 feet MSL within a 30-mile radius of the Atlanta VORTAC north of a line 13.5 miles north of and parallel to the Runway 08L/26R localizer courses; excluding that airspace within the lateral limits of area I. Issued in Washington, DC, on January 19, 2012. Gary A. Norek, Acting Manager, Airspace, Regulations and ATC Procedures Group. E:\FR\FM\03FEP1.SGM 03FEP1 5440 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 23 / Friday, February 3, 2012 / Proposed Rules BILLING CODE 4910–13–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration 15 CFR Part 336 19 CFR Part 357 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS RIN 0625–AA90 Withdrawal of Regulations Pertaining to Imports of Cotton Woven Fabric and Short Supply Procedures; Opportunity for Public Comment Import Administration, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule. AGENCY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 20:47 Feb 02, 2012 Jkt 226001 PO 00000 Frm 00026 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Import Administration (‘‘IA’’) issues this proposed rule for the purpose of withdrawing regulations pertaining to imports of cotton woven fabric and short supply procedures. Both sets of regulations are obsolete. DATES: To ensure consideration, comments must be received no later than April 3, 2012. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this proposal to withdraw these regulations by one of the two following methods: Electronic Submission: All comments must be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http:// www.regulations.gov, Docket No. ITA– 2011–0004, unless the commenter does SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\03FEP1.SGM 03FEP1 EP03FE12.001</GPH> [FR Doc. 2012–2072 Filed 2–2–12; 8:45 am]

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 23 (Friday, February 3, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 5429-5440]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-2072]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 71

[Docket No. FAA-2011-1237; Airspace Docket No. 08-AWA-5]
RIN 2120-AA66


Proposed Modification of the Atlanta Class B Airspace Area; GA

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: This action proposes to modify the Atlanta, GA, Class B 
airspace area to ensure the containment of aircraft within Class B 
airspace, reduce controller workload and enhance safety in the Atlanta, 
GA, terminal area.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before April 3, 2012.

ADDRESSES: Send comments on this proposal to the U.S. Department of 
Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., 
West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001; 
telephone: (202) 366-9826. You must identify FAA Docket No. FAA-2011-
1237 and Airspace Docket No. 08-AWA-1, at the beginning of your 
comments. You may also submit comments through the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Paul Gallant, Airspace, Regulations 
and ATC Procedures Group, Office of Airspace Services, Federal Aviation 
Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591; 
telephone: (202) 267-8783.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Comments Invited

    Interested parties are invited to participate in this proposed 
rulemaking by submitting such written data, views, or arguments as they 
may desire. Comments that provide the factual basis supporting the 
views and suggestions presented are particularly helpful in developing 
reasoned regulatory decisions on the proposal. Comments are 
specifically invited on the overall regulatory, aeronautical, economic, 
environmental, and energy-related aspects of the proposal.
    Communications should identify both docket numbers (FAA Docket No. 
FAA-2011-1237 and Airspace Docket No. 08-AWA-5) and be submitted in 
triplicate to the Docket Management Facility (see ADDRESSES section for 
address and phone number). You may also submit comments through the 
Internet at http://www.regulations.gov.
    Commenters wishing the FAA to acknowledge receipt of their comments 
on this action must submit with those comments a self-addressed, 
stamped postcard on which the following statement is made: ``Comments 
to Docket Nos. FAA-2011-1237 and Airspace Docket No. 08-AWA-5.'' The 
postcard will be date/time stamped and returned to the commenter.
    All communications received on or before the specified closing date 
for comments will be considered before taking action on the proposed 
rule. The proposal contained in this action may be changed in light of 
comments received. All comments submitted will be available for 
examination in the public docket both before and after the closing date 
for comments. A report summarizing each substantive public contact with 
FAA personnel concerned with this rulemaking will be filed in the 
docket.

Availability of NPRMs

    An electronic copy of this document may be downloaded through the 
Internet at http://www.regulations.gov.

[[Page 5430]]

    You may review the public docket containing the proposal, any 
comments received and any final disposition in person in the Dockets 
Office (see ADDRESSES section for address and phone number) between 9 
a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. An 
informal docket may also be examined during normal business hours at 
the office of the Eastern Service Center, Federal Aviation 
Administration, Room 210, 1701 Columbia Ave., College Park, GA 30337.
    Persons interested in being placed on a mailing list for future 
NPRMs should contact the FAA's Office of Rulemaking, (202) 267-9677, 
for a copy of Advisory Circular No. 11-2A, Notice of Proposed 
Rulemaking Distribution System, which describes the application 
procedure.

Background

    The primary purpose of Class B airspace is to reduce the potential 
for midair collisions in the airspace surrounding airports with high 
density air traffic operations by providing an area in which all 
aircraft are subject to certain operating rules and equipment 
requirements. FAA directives require Class B airspace areas to be 
designed to contain all instrument procedures and that air traffic 
controllers vector aircraft as appropriate to remain within Class B 
airspace after entry. Controllers must inform the aircraft when leaving 
and entering Class B airspace if it becomes necessary to extend the 
flight path outside Class B airspace for spacing. However, in the 
interest of safety, FAA policy dictates that such extensions be the 
exception rather than the rule.

Atlanta Class B Airspace History

    On May 21, 1970, the FAA issued a final rule that established the 
Atlanta, GA, Terminal Control Area (TCA) with an effective date of June 
25, 1970 (35 FR 7784). The TCA was modified several times during the 
1970s to accommodate revised instrument procedures, the addition of a 
fourth parallel runway, and to ensure that the flight paths of large 
turbine-powered aircraft remain within the designated airspace. In 
1993, as part of the Airspace Reclassification Final Rule (56 FR 
65638), the term ``terminal control area'' was replaced by ``Class B 
airspace area.''
    A fifth parallel runway became operational at the Hartsfield-
Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) in May 2006, enabling the 
implementation of Simultaneous Triple ILS operations as well as triple 
departure procedures. The new procedures added additional traffic and 
complexity to the ATL air traffic operation and the FAA found that not 
all aircraft could be contained within Class B airspace due to the 
existing design. To address this situation, the FAA issued a final rule 
in October 2006 (71 FR 60419) that lowered the floor of the Atlanta 
Class B airspace area from 6,000 feet MSL to 5,000 feet MSL within two 
small areas (approximately 9 NM by 5 NM), one to the east and one to 
the west of the airport and between the 20 NM and 25 NM arcs of the 
Atlanta VORTAC. The rule, however, was an interim measure that didn't 
address all issues with the Class B design, and the FAA noted its 
intent to conduct a thorough review of the Atlanta Class B airspace 
design for possible future revisions. Except for the changes 
implemented in the 2006 rule, noted above, the configuration of the 
Atlanta Class B airspace area has remained largely unchanged since the 
1970s.

Need for Modification

    Traffic at ATL has increased dramatically in the years since the 
airspace was originally designed. The airport has expanded from three 
parallel runways in the early 1980s to five parallel runways today. The 
operation has changed from a large contingent of propeller-driven 
aircraft to an almost all jet fleet today with a varied mix of aircraft 
types in the terminal area. The operational complexity at ATL also has 
increased dramatically with the addition of the fifth runway and the 
introduction of advanced navigation procedures (e.g., RNAV SIDs and 
STARs), which necessitates additional Class B airspace and more 
stringent procedures. In addition, there is a renewed safety emphasis 
on retaining all large turbine-powered aircraft within the Class B 
airspace to avoid mixing with other aircraft that are not in contact 
with ATC. The Atlanta operation has outgrown the 1970s airspace design 
and air traffic controllers often must vector aircraft on inefficient 
routes in an effort to keep them within Class B airspace. Keeping large 
jet aircraft within the existing Atlanta Class B airspace is not always 
possible. For example, arrivals are sometimes required to extend the 
downwind leg beyond the lateral limits of the existing Class B airspace 
before turning onto final due to traffic volume. On hot summer days, 
heavy aircraft on departure are sometimes unable to climb fast enough 
to stay above the rising floor of the Class B airspace.

Clarification of Terms

    A review of comments received in response to the informal airspace 
meetings (see below) revealed some confusion over the meaning or 
application of several terms that apply to published VFR routes. 
Frequently, the terms are incorrectly used interchangeably. Since the 
terms are used in this NPRM, the following information is provided to 
explain the purpose of each type of route.
    A VFR Corridor is airspace through a Class B airspace area with 
defined vertical and lateral boundaries in which aircraft may operate 
without an ATC clearance or communication with ATC. The corridor is, in 
effect, a ``tunnel'' through Class B airspace. Due to heavy traffic 
volume and procedures necessary to manage the flow of traffic, it has 
not been possible to incorporate VFR corridors in Class B airspace 
areas in recent years.
    A VFR Flyway is a general flight path not defined as a specific 
course for use by pilots in planning flights into, out of, through or 
near complex terminal airspace to avoid Class B airspace. An ATC 
clearance is not required to fly these routes. Where established, VFR 
flyways are depicted on the reverse side of the VFR Terminal Area Chart 
(TAC), commonly referred to as ``Class B charts.'' They are designed to 
assist pilots in planning flights under or around busy Class B airspace 
without actually entering Class B airspace.
    A Class B airspace VFR transition route is a route depicted on a 
TAC to accommodate VFR traffic transiting through a specific Class B 
airspace area. The route includes a specific flight course and specific 
ATC-assigned altitudes. Pilots must obtain an ATC clearance prior to 
entering Class B airspace on the route.
    See the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) for more information 
about these routes.

Pre-NPRM Public Input

    In October 2008, the FAA took action to form an Ad Hoc Committee to 
develop recommendations for the FAA to consider in designing a proposed 
modification to the Atlanta Class B airspace area. The Georgia 
Department of Transportation (GDOT) Aviation Programs Office headed the 
group, which consisted of representatives from airports that underlie 
the Atlanta Class B airspace area, national aviation organizations, and 
the ballooning and soaring communities. The Committee met three times 
between February 2009 and April 2009.
    As announced in the Federal Register of December 4, 2009 (74 FR 
63818), informal airspace meetings were held on February 22, 2010, in 
Kennesaw, GA; on February 25, 2010, in Covington, GA; on March 1, 2010, 
in Chamblee, GA; and on March 4, 2010, at Peachtree City Falcon Field, 
Peachtree City, GA. The purpose

[[Page 5431]]

of the meetings was to provide airspace users an opportunity to present 
their views and suggestions regarding modifications to the Atlanta 
Class B airspace area.

Discussion of Ad Hoc Committee Recommendations and Comments

    As a starting point for discussions, a preliminary Class B design 
was presented to the Ad Hoc Committee for review. In general, the 
preliminary design consisted of lower Class B floors within a reduced 
radius of 30 NM from the ATL VORTAC as opposed to the current 35 NM 
radius. The preliminary design retained the extensions on the southwest 
and southeast corners as well as proposing new extensions on the 
northwest and northeast corners that extended out to a 40 NM radius in 
those areas. The Ad Hoc Committee submitted several recommendations to 
the FAA regarding the proposed modifications of the Atlanta Class B 
airspace area.
    The Committee raised three concerns related to the proposed lower 
Class B airspace floors, particularly in the airspace directly 
underlying the final approach courses at ATL. First, the Committee 
believed there would be increased congestion at lower altitudes due to 
VFR traffic trying to avoid flying in the Class B airspace area and 
leaving less room for VFR aircraft to transition the airspace. The 
Committee recommended the FAA establish transition routes for north and 
southbound traffic to assist VFR aircraft navigating through the area 
and to mitigate congestion below the Class B floor.
    The FAA understands the need for safe routes for VFR aircraft to 
transition through, around, and under the Class B airspace. The FAA 
originally considered proposing to lower the Class B floor in the 
airspace underlying the final approach courses at ATL from the current 
3,500 feet MSL to 2,500 feet, which is the minimum vectoring altitude 
(MVA) in that area. Instead, the FAA proposed to set the floor at 3,000 
feet because that altitude would contain all operations that are not 
currently being contained with the existing 3,500 foot floor. Aircraft 
executing a missed approach or a go-around from the southern-most 
runway are climbed to 3,000 feet. This altitude is needed to deconflict 
traffic with other aircraft at 4,000 feet. Aircraft at 3,000 feet 
routinely exit the existing Class B airspace, which conflicts with FAA 
procedures. The procedures cannot be changed due to the lack of 
available airspace to contain missed approaches.
    The 3,000 foot Class B floor provides adequate airspace for 
aircraft to safely transition under the Class B airspace and still 
maintain the required terrain and obstruction clearance. The FAA 
intends to establish VFR Waypoints and Reporting Points to assist VFR 
pilot navigation. The new VFR waypoints would be located over areas 
that can be easily identified visually. The FAA also plans to establish 
VFR routes that can be used to circumnavigate the Class B airspace when 
necessary to avoid aircraft operating within the Class B airspace. 
However, these routes would also be useful as a predetermined route 
through the Class B airspace when operations permit. In addition to 
these new VFR waypoints, the FAA intends to establish RNAV T-Routes 
within Class B airspace for transitioning over the top of ATL. The T-
routes would be part of the low altitude IFR enroute structure, but 
could also serve as VFR transition routes through the Class B for 
suitably equipped aircraft. Since the routes would enter Class B 
airspace, an ATC clearance would be required to use the T-routes. 
Typically, VFR aircraft could be assigned either 4,500 feet or 5,500 
feet when transitioning along these routes. The new T-Routes would also 
make transitioning of IFR aircraft more safe and efficient. The VFR 
Flyway Planning Chart on the back of the Atlanta Terminal Area Chart 
would be updated to reflect the new routes and VFR waypoints. However, 
the FAA does not plan to establish a VFR Flyway or VFR corridor over 
the top of ATL because that airspace is too congested to accommodate 
such a flyway or corridor.
    Second, the Committee was concerned that the lower floors would 
result in commercial airline traffic flying at lower altitudes in 
closer proximity to the satellite airports in the ATL area. Therefore, 
the Committee contended that lower floors could decrease the efficiency 
of the satellite airports and create IFR delays for arriving and 
departing traffic at the satellite airports.
    The FAA looked at the Class B floors over the satellite airports. 
With the opening of the fifth runway at ATL, departure procedures had 
to be modified to reduce delays. One procedural modification was to 
separate the prop and turboprop traffic from traffic lanes used by 
faster jet aircraft. This resulted in more aircraft being turned north 
and south off of ATL. The routes that these aircraft take are already 
in existence and aircraft are already flying in the vicinity of Fulton 
county Airport-Brown Field (FTY) and Dekalb-Peachtree (PDK) airports, 
but below the floor of the existing Class B airspace. Lowering the 
floor of the Class B airspace over these airports would only ensure 
that this existing ATL departure traffic is contained within the Class 
B airspace as required by FAA directives. The change would not affect 
IFR traffic flows at either FTY or PDK. Also, the lower floor would not 
impose a lower initial altitude for aircraft departing these airports. 
Today, all aircraft departing all satellite airports are initially 
assigned 3,000 feet. Aircraft are then normally assigned 5,000 feet, or 
higher, upon initial contact with departure control. The assignment of 
higher altitudes is not dependent on the Class B airspace, but rather 
on the internal IFR airspace delegations within Atlanta TRACON (A80). 
This practice would not change because of the proposed modifications of 
the Class B airspace. There would be no expected increase in delays at 
satellite airports due to the lowering of the Class B floor.
    Regarding satellite airport VFR traffic, it is true that lowering 
the floor of the Class B airspace may affect altitudes that VFR 
aircraft can initially climb to and still remain outside of the 
proposed Class B airspace. For example, aircraft departing southbound 
from Atlanta Regional Airport-Falcon Field (FFC), Newnan Coweta County 
(CCO), Clayton County-Tara Field (4A7) and Griffin-Spalding County 
(6A2) airports currently are able to climb to about 7,500 feet and 
still remain outside of the Class B airspace. Lowering the floor would 
have an impact VFR aircraft departing those airports in that they would 
have to remain below 6,000 feet or 5,000 feet until clear of the Class 
B airspace boundary, or request Class B service from A80. With today's 
Class B airspace configuration, large turbine-powered aircraft are 
allowed to mix with smaller aircraft departing the airports listed 
above. Containing large turbine-powered aircraft within Class B 
airspace, in compliance with FAA procedures, would increase safety in 
the area by minimizing the potential mixing of controlled and 
uncontrolled aircraft.
    The Committee's third concern regarding the lower floors was the 
potential increase in noise complaints from surrounding communities. 
The FAA understands the concerns of the surrounding communities 
concerning noise and the effect of lowering the base of the Class B 
airspace. However, the Class B airspace changes under consideration are 
not associated with any changes of flight path or altitude. The FAA 
does not intend to change any existing instrument procedures in 
conjunction with the proposed Class B changes. As noted above, changes 
in the Class B airspace are being proposed purely to ensure that 
existing instrument procedures are contained

[[Page 5432]]

within the designated Class B airspace. The FAA believes that the noise 
concerns result from the perception that aircraft would be flying lower 
if the Class B floor is lowered. Aircraft are already flying in those 
areas, and at those altitudes, utilizing current FAA procedures, but 
these aircraft are not presently contained within Class B airspace as 
required by FAA policy. This proposal is subject to an environmental 
analysis prior to any FAA final regulatory action.
    The Committee recommended that the FAA establish visual references 
to mark the Class B boundaries to assist VFR aircraft that have limited 
navigation equipment. The FAA agrees and would establish VFR Reporting 
Points at key points around the Class B airspace area to aid in 
navigation through and around the area, if this rule is adopted.
    The Committee recommended that the current 8,000 feet and 6,000 
feet Class B airspace floors over PDK be retained, or kept as close to 
the current altitudes as possible, in order to maintain efficient 
operations at PDK.
    Due to the opening of the fifth runway at ATL, departure procedures 
had to be modified to reduce delays, as described above. Aircraft are 
already flying in the vicinity of PDK airport. Lowering the floor of 
the Class B airspace over the satellite airports would only contain the 
existing ATL departure traffic within the Class B airspace; it would 
not affect IFR traffic flows at PDK.
    The Committee also recommended that the Class B floor over 
Covington Municipal Airport (9A1) not be lowered from 8,000 feet to 
4,000 feet as proposed, but that the airport be excluded (i.e., ``cut 
out'') from the Class B airspace. After reviewing this recommendation, 
the FAA found that the airspace over 9A1 could be excluded without an 
adverse impact to the ATL operation. The proposed Class B airspace 
boundary has been revised so that 9A1 would be completely outside of 
Class B airspace.
    In addition to the above recommendations, the Ad Hoc Committee 
report listed a number of other concerns about the preliminary design 
that were not directly tied to a recommendation. These concerns are 
discussed below.
    The Committee stated that lower IFR departure altitudes could force 
faster aircraft to mix with slower aircraft.
    The proposed design of the Class B would not result in lower IFR 
departure altitudes. IFR traffic flows would be the same with the 
proposed Class B airspace design as they are today. The initial 
departure altitude has been 3,000 feet for all satellite airports since 
the mid 1970s. After initial departure, aircraft are normally assigned 
5,000 feet until they are clear of other traffic landing at ATL. IFR 
aircraft are not restricted by the Class B airspace, but rather by 
other IFR traffic. Once the conflicting traffic is clear, aircraft are 
routinely cleared to climb into/through the Atlanta Class B airspace. 
There remains the possibility of faster and slower aircraft mixing at 
low altitudes outside of the Class B airspace. This, however, is not 
new and is more a function of satellite airport proximity to the ATL 
airport than of the Class B airspace.
    The Committee held that the FAA had not studied the effect of the 
proposed Class B design on VFR traffic flow.
    There are two areas where VFR flights would be most affected by the 
proposed change in the Class B airspace. The first area is below the 
new proposed 5,000 foot MSL shelf north of ATL. In this area, pilots 
would have to choose between flying at a lower altitude, 
circumnavigating the area to the north, or requesting Class B service 
from A80. Likewise, the area that currently underlies the final 
approach courses for ATL is proposed to be lowered to 3,000 feet MSL. 
Again, pilots must choose between flying lower, circumnavigating the 
area, or requesting Class B service from A80 to transition the area. 
Large turbine powered aircraft are routinely operating in both of these 
areas. Class B airspace is necessary in these areas to ensure the 
highest level of safety possible in the Atlanta terminal area.
    The Committee raised the issue of flight restrictions over the 
Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, GA, during NASCAR races. The 
Committee believed that lowering the Class B floor from 8,000 feet to 
6,000 feet in that area would cause compression of traffic when a race 
was in progress.
    The flight restriction, currently described in FDC NOTAM number 9/
5151, prohibits flight within a 3 NM radius of the track, up to and 
including 3,000 feet AGL, during the period from one hour before until 
one hour after the end of the event. While events subject to the 
restrictions of this NOTAM occur once a year at the Atlanta Motor 
Speedway, the restriction does not apply to other Speedway race events. 
Even when the restriction is in effect, the FAA does not believe that 
circumnavigating the area would be a significant impact to aircraft 
operating in the vicinity. As stated in the NOTAM, the restriction does 
not apply to aircraft authorized by, and in contact with, ATC for 
operational or safety of flight purposes. Furthermore, aircraft may 
operate in the restricted airspace to the extent necessary to arrive at 
or depart from an airport using standard air traffic control 
procedures.
    The Committee stated that compressing aircraft lower to the ground 
as a result of lower Class B floors places aircraft closer to obstacles 
and terrain, which limits the time pilots have to respond to a 
mechanical emergency. Pilots must plan their flights to take these 
potential situations into account. Today, aircraft routinely operate at 
or below 2,400 feet while transitioning under the existing Class B 
airspace. This altitude is 600 feet below the floor of the proposed 
Class B airspace in some areas. This altitude has routinely provided 
safe obstacle and terrain clearance for aircraft transitioning under 
the Class B airspace.
    Instead of lowering the Class B floor, one Committee member 
suggested that ATC should advise aircraft with poor climb performance 
that they are leaving the Class B airspace or publish a climb gradient 
that will allow aircraft to remain within the existing Class B 
airspace.
    The need for lower Class B airspace floors to the north and to the 
south of ATL is based on the requirement to fully contain existing 
instrument procedures within Class B airspace. These procedures are not 
fully contained by today's Class B airspace configuration. Due to 
internal airspace delegations designed to segregate slower prop and 
turboprop traffic from turbojet traffic, prop and turboprop aircraft 
must fly at lower altitudes out to 20NM before they can initiate a 
climb. This allows enough room for turbojet aircraft to climb above the 
prop and turboprop aircraft. Additionally, merely advising the aircraft 
that they are leaving the Class B airspace is not an option. Retaining 
these aircraft within the Class B airspace is required by FAA policy 
and is a top safety issue. Since the existing airspace is inadequate, 
the Class B design needs to be modified.
    The Committee wrote that the new proposed Class B extensions on the 
northwest and northeast corners (referred to by commenters as the 
``ears'' or ``wings''), as well as the existing southwest and southeast 
extensions, would be difficult to navigate around and that they are 
unnecessary. The FAA reevaluated this feature and concluded that all 
four ``ears'' can be deleted from the proposed design.
    The Committee believed that the lower Class B floors could impact 
sailplane operations at the Monroe-Walton County Airport (D73) and the 
West Georgia Regional Airport-O. V. Gray Field (CTJ). It contended that 
the lower inbound traffic to ATL from the east and the west would 
infringe on

[[Page 5433]]

airspace being used outside of the Class B airspace by sailplanes.
    Arrival traffic to ATL does not typically fly in the vicinity of 
those airports. ATL inbounds are routed from the four corners, 
northeast, northwest, southeast, and southwest. These arrival corridors 
are well clear of the two airports and are not changing due to the 
proposed the Class B airspace modifications.
    The Ad Hoc Committee report also included an alternative Class B 
design for FAA's consideration. In part, this design consisted of 
higher Class B floors than those proposed by the FAA, such as retaining 
the current 8,000 foot floor north and south of ATL. Also, a large 
portion of the Class B would have a 6,000 foot floor. A block of Class 
B airspace would be aligned along the extended centerlines, to the east 
and west of the airport, with a floor of 2,500 feet from 7 NM to 12 NM, 
and a base of 3,500 feet MSL from 12 NM out to 20 NM. Surrounding this 
section on all sides, the Class B floor would be 5,000 feet MSL. The 
5,000 foot area would provide for westbound VFR traffic at 4,500 feet 
MSL north of the airport and eastbound VFR traffic at 3,500 feet MSL 
south of the airport.
    The Committee's proposal would require changing ATC procedures to 
fit the proposed alternate airspace, instead of changing the airspace 
to fit the procedures. These procedures, adopted over many years, have 
proven to be the most efficient for handling the high volume of traffic 
serving ATL. The main points of the alternative design in the 
Committee's report are discussed below.
    1. The FAA does not find that the 6,000 foot area would be adequate 
to contain all large turbine powered aircraft departing ATL. It does 
not allow enough room for departures to clear internal airspace 
boundaries that protect ATL jet departures from satellite airport 
departures. Additionally, on the southeast and southwest corners of the 
airspace, it does not allow ATL arrival aircraft to get low enough to 
feed the south final.
    2. Raising the Class B airspace floor over the downtown area and 
the stadiums to 5,000 feet to allow traffic to overfly the FTY Class D 
airspace area and (when NOTAM 9/5151 is in effect) would be 
problematic. The current floor over the downtown area would not change 
in the FAA's proposed Class B design. The floor of the Class B airspace 
over the downtown area has been 3,500 feet since at least the mid-1970s 
and has provided adequate space for aircraft to transition that 
airspace. A 5,000-foot floor would not allow departures or missed 
approach aircraft to be contained within the Class B airspace.
    3. The Committee contended that turboprop departures should not be 
turned until they can comply with the 5,000 foot floor. This is not 
operationally feasible because it would require the turboprops to be 
blended back in with the jets on departure and would greatly reduce 
departure capacity at ATL.
    4. The Committee suggested that ATL missed approaches should be 
flown as departures unless an emergency exists. This alternative 
procedure would not allow ATC enough options. The rules that apply to 
missed approaches in a terminal environment, where multiple runways are 
being used simultaneously for arrivals and departures, are very 
complex. They require ATC to retain the maximum flexibility in the 
operation to ensure that we can effectively separate missed approach 
and unplanned go-arounds from departing aircraft. Sometimes, aircraft 
will be able to proceed outbound on the departure tracks. Other times 
aircraft must be turned immediately to avoid aircraft departing 
simultaneously from a parallel runway.
    5. The Committee also contended that long, low, finals are not 
needed. Currently, aircraft are turned on to parallel finals at ATL 
between 3,500 feet and 7,000 feet MSL. FAA Order JO 7110.65 requires 
that aircraft being turned onto parallel finals be separated by 3 miles 
longitudinal or 1,000 feet vertical separation until they are 
established on final approach course. It is more efficient to turn the 
aircraft on final with vertical separation. Raising the altitude that 
aircraft are turned on to parallel finals would result in even longer 
finals and would require Class B extensions beyond 30NM. The FAA has 
been able to reduce the size of the proposed Class B on the east and 
west sides to less than 30 NM based on the existing procedures.

Discussion of Informal Airspace Meeting Comments

    Over 150 comments were received in response to the informal 
airspace meetings. Two commenters wrote in support of the proposal, 
while the remaining comments opposed various aspects of the proposed 
Class B modifications.
    One commenter contended that the proposed Class B changes are 
premature since ATL flights declined in 2009 and could continue to do 
so over the next decade due to the U.S. economic downturn. According to 
the commenter, the current Class B should be left in place and reviewed 
again in five or ten years.
    While economic swings may happen periodically, the volume of 
traffic and passenger boardings at ATL remain extremely high. Passenger 
boardings at ATL declined by just over three percent from 2008 to 2009, 
but even so, boardings exceeded 42 million passengers (over eight times 
the threshold to qualify for Class B airspace). Calendar year 2010 data 
show a two percent rise in boardings from the previous year. Similarly, 
airport operations declined slightly from 2008 to 2009, but still 
totaled over 970,000 operations (more than three times the number to 
qualify for Class B airspace). The proposed airspace changes are 
necessary to ensure safety of flight. Nevertheless, the FAA would 
continue to periodically evaluate the airspace design and may propose 
changes in the future if circumstances dictate.
    Some commenters suggested that the ATL Class B airspace should be 
set up like that in Seattle, WA, but aligned along ATL's east/west 
approaches and departures with fixes outbound so traffic is strung out 
over a larger area east- and west-bound. They contended that this 
alignment would leave the northern satellite airports free to expedite 
their arrivals/departures; while ATL missed approaches could fly 
straight out.
    Each Class B airspace area design is individually tailored to fit 
the operational needs of the primary airport. Atlanta's airspace system 
could not be set up like Seattle due to the many differences between 
the two operations. West coast facilities are able to take advantage of 
the fact that the majority of the traffic arrives from the same 
direction (east) while Atlanta traffic arrives from all directions. The 
Seattle Class B design is influenced by high terrain to the east and 
northwest as well as special use airspace northwest and southwest of 
the area. Additionally, the Atlanta operation is much larger than 
Seattle, involving five runways versus three, and accommodating over 
three times the number of airport operations. Seattle's Class B 
configuration simply would not provide sufficient airspace to contain 
Atlanta's operations. Regarding missed approaches, ATL missed approach 
aircraft cannot always fly straight out because aircraft departing from 
other runways also occupy the same airspace. In the FAA's proposed 
design, the size of the Atlanta Class B would be reduced so that all 
Class B airspace beyond 30 NM would be eliminated.
    One commenter wrote that the proposed ``wings'' in the four 
quadrants

[[Page 5434]]

should be retained because eliminating the wings exposes arriving 
aircraft below 10,000 feet to transitory nonparticipating aircraft 
circumnavigating the Class B airspace.
    The FAA has reevaluated the proposed Class B extensions. The 
existing and proposed ``wings'' extended beyond the 30 NM Class B 
lateral limit as provided in FAA Order JO 7400.2H. The vertical and 
lateral limits of the area are designed to contain all instrument 
procedures within Class B airspace. In this proposal, the outer limits 
of the proposed Class B have been reduced to a maximum of 30 NM from 
ATL to meet FAA policy and to address Ad Hoc Committee comments that 
the ``wings'' should be reduced or eliminated.
    One commenter contended that aircraft will be unable to identify 
the lateral boundaries on the ``45s'' (Note: the ``45s'' refers to 
those Class B boundary lines currently described by the ATL VORTAC 
323[deg], 031[deg], 138[deg] and 218[deg] radials) because they would 
no longer be based on ATL VORTAC radials. In addition, the east and 
west Class B boundaries would be difficult to identify because they are 
defined by longitude lines rather than DME.
    The FAA has found that, in the current Class B design, some of the 
boundaries that are defined by radials and DME are the same areas where 
aircraft are consistently leaving the Class B airspace. Due to the 
position of the ATL VORTAC, if radials were used to describe the 
proposed realigned ``45s,'' it would result in the designation of more 
Class B airspace than is needed to contain current operations. An 
increasing number of general and business aviation users are now RNAV 
or RNAV GPS equipped. Additionally, pilots may request vectors to 
remain clear of Class B airspace. The Ad Hoc Committee concurred with 
the use of GPS in defining certain area boundaries.
    Many commenters were concerned about the perceived impacts of the 
proposed changes on VFR operations in the Atlanta terminal area. It was 
stated that the FAA did not fully determine the impact on VFR aircraft 
flying beneath the Class B airspace. In response, a new study was done, 
which found that, of the 7,123 flights observed in the vicinity of PDK, 
141 were operating above 5,000 feet MSL. With almost 98% of the 
aircraft flying in that area already operating below 5,000 feet MSL, 
lowering the floor of Class B airspace to 5,000 feet MSL would not 
significantly impact VFR operations.
    However, many commenters echoed concerns also raised by the Ad Hoc 
Committee that the lower Class B floors would cause the compression of 
VFR traffic beneath the Class B and/or require pilots to fly further to 
deviate around the Class B airspace. Commenters said that the changes 
could increase the potential for midair collisions, reduce the airspace 
available for avoiding Class D airspace areas and obstructions in the 
ATL terminal area, and leave pilots with less time and altitude to 
react to inflight emergency situations or locate a suitable emergency 
landing site.
    The FAA acknowledges these concerns and recognizes that compression 
could occur for some VFR operations. However, with the existing Class B 
configuration, VFR aircraft that are not in communication with ATC are 
currently mixing with turbine-powered ATL traffic. The FAA weighed the 
impacts to VFR pilots flying lower or choosing to circumnavigate the 
Class B airspace against the safety of having large turbine-powered 
aircraft flying at altitudes that are not contained within Class B 
airspace. Considering the heavy concentration of operations by all 
types of aircraft in the Atlanta terminal area, we believe the 
operation of large turbine-powered aircraft outside the Class B 
airspace poses a greater safety risk. Lowering the floor of the Class B 
airspace increases safety by segregating large turbine-powered aircraft 
from aircraft that may not be in contact with ATC. As always, it is the 
pilot's prerogative and responsibility to evaluate these factors and 
determine the safest course of action for any given flight.
    One commenter opposed the lowering of the Class B floor in the 
vicinity of PDK from 8,000 feet to 5,000 feet because it could cause 
compression of VFR aircraft given the fact that the PDK Class D 
airspace ceiling is 3,500 feet.
    The existing Class B floor above PDK is 8,000 feet, while 
immediately to the east and south of PDK, the existing floor is 6,000 
feet. Under the proposed Class B changes, the floor of Class B airspace 
above the southern half of the PDK Class D airspace would be 5,000 
feet; to the northeast, the floor would be 6,000 feet; and to the 
northwest, the floor would be 7,000 feet. This would still give pilots 
room to navigate north of the PDK airport eastbound at 5,500 feet. It 
is true that the proposed change would eliminate the 5,500 foot VFR 
altitude over the southern half of the PDK Class D airspace. This may 
require the pilot to make a choice to fly eastbound below 3,000 feet 
AGL or to fly further north in order to fly above 3,000 feet AGL and 
below the Class B airspace.
    Other commenters argued that the proposed 3,000 foot floor on the 
east and west sides of the area would make it more difficult for VFR 
aircraft to navigate around the city and get from north-to-south and 
vice versa. The commenters asked that more waypoint-driven VFR routes 
be developed around the city, and that a ``corridor'' used by A80 to 
route aircraft over ATL be publicized and added to the Sectional Chart 
and be made a more routine choice for VFR pilots.
    Regarding the proposed 3,000 foot floor, the existing Class B floor 
in those areas is 3,500 feet MSL. Today, aircraft landing at ATL are 
intercepting the southern final approach course farther from the 
airport than needed to meet the present Class B separation criteria. 
During Triple ILS approaches, aircraft are required to maintain 1,000 
feet vertical separation until established on the final approach 
courses. This mandates an aircraft final approach interception point 
that is two NM farther from the airport than would be required if the 
Class B floor was lowered to 3,000 feet. The proposed 3,000-foot floor 
would allow aircraft to be turned onto the final approach course closer 
to the airport which would increase efficiency, save fuel and reduce 
emissions. Additionally, lowering the floor to 3,000 feet would allow 
Visual Approaches to be conducted more often, which is the most 
efficient arrival operation at ATL. The proposed 3,000 foot floor would 
produce a safer airspace environment for aircraft arriving at the 
world's busiest airport. Flying VFR under the lowest floor of the Class 
B airspace always requires the pilot in command to evaluate traffic 
that may be flying overhead within the Class B as well as terrain, 
obstructions and emergency landing options and determine the best and 
safest course of action for the planned flight. Regarding waypoint-
driven VFR routes, the Atlanta TAC would be revised to contain VFR 
flyways as well as GPS intersections/waypoints to assist VFR pilot 
navigation.
    In regard to the comment about A80's ``corridor'' over the top of 
Atlanta, this is not the same thing as a ``VFR corridor'' as described 
in the Clarification of Terms section, above. The A80 Satellite Sectors 
are assigned airspace within the Class B that can be used to transition 
aircraft north and south. This airspace delegation is adjusted based on 
the operational runway configuration in use at ATL. It is a 6 NM wide 
north/south airspace area that overlies the approach side of the 
arrival runways. Its primary use is to route IFR aircraft departing 
airports north of VOR Federal airway V-18 that are filed to 
destinations south of the

[[Page 5435]]

Atlanta area. It is also used when operationally advantageous to route 
some aircraft northbound that are landing at airports to the north and 
within A80's airspace. This small, high traffic density ``corridor,'' 
encompassing 5,000 to 6,000 feet, is used by air traffic controllers to 
efficiently flow and meter Atlanta satellite airport aircraft. Since 
the location of the ``corridor'' shifts based on the direction of 
operations at ATL, it would be impractical to publish the locations on 
aeronautical charts. Clearance into the area is based on traffic and 
the workload of the Satellite Controllers. It is intended for 
controller operational use. Pilots may request use of the ``corridor'' 
and controllers may approve the request when appropriate. VFR aircraft 
flying in this airspace are required to obtain a Class B clearance.
    Several commenters said that the FAA should have considered 
establishing VFR corridors through the Class B airspace to offset the 
issue of flying beneath the lower Class B floors. The FAA considered a 
VFR corridor, however, since a VFR corridor permits flight through 
Class B airspace without an ATC clearance or radio communications 
requirements, the idea was not adopted due to the high volume of 
traffic, the amount of airspace required to create a useful corridor, 
and the potential effects on safety considering weather and missed 
approach procedures.
    One commenter requested that the FAA establish ``traffic dependent 
routes'' that could be used to allow more direct routes to FTY and PDK 
when traffic, time and weather conditions permit. ``Traffic dependent 
routes'' are currently being discussed with A80 separately from this 
Class B proposal process. Class B airspace would have no effect on the 
implementation of ``traffic dependent routes.''
    One commenter noted a lack of IFR arrival routes into the satellite 
airports for use by smaller, but technically advanced, aircraft. 
Currently, the DIFFI ONE, JRAMS TWO (RNAV) and the TRBOW EIGHT Standard 
Terminal Arrivals (STARs) are in effect. These STARs were designed to 
facilitate all types of aircraft inbound from the south of Atlanta that 
have filed to airports north of Atlanta that are within A80's airspace. 
It is important to note that these STARs are also designed to keep 
aircraft that are not landing at the Atlanta Airport safely outside of 
the Atlanta base leg arrival traffic as well as Atlanta departing 
traffic.
    Several commenters suggested that lowering the Class B floors would 
result in increased IFR departure delays from satellite airports such 
as FTY and PDK. The existence of Class B airspace has no impact on 
delays from these airports. The determining factors for delays are 
normally traffic volume and weather. No additional IFR aircraft would 
be introduced into the airspace over these airports, so the traffic 
that flows through the affected airspace is already there. Where 
aircraft fly today in that area is where they would fly if the new 
airspace is implemented. The only difference is that, if the new Class 
B is implemented, those aircraft would be contained within the Class B 
airspace. IFR aircraft departing from satellite airports would not be 
artificially held down due to a change in the floor of the Class B 
airspace. Any IFR delays experienced by the satellite airports should 
be of the same frequency and magnitude as those experienced today.
    There is also a perception that IFR aircraft departing satellite 
airports are kept out of the Class B airspace. This is not the case. 
With the proposed Class B airspace, aircraft departing satellite 
airports would be worked within Class B airspace much more often. For 
example, a turbojet aircraft departing Runway 8 at FTY going eastbound 
is normally assigned 5,000 feet MSL shortly after takeoff. Today, that 
aircraft is outside Class B airspace. If the proposed Class B change is 
implemented, that same aircraft would still be assigned 5,000 feet but 
would be contained within Class B airspace.
    A pilot who flies out of Gwinnett County Airport-Briscoe Field 
(LZU) (in comparing his current operations below the existing 6,000 
foot floor, to the north of Atlanta) stated that if the Class B floor 
is lowered to 5,000 feet in that area, he could not legally fly VFR at 
3,000 feet AGL. Aircraft operating below Class B airspace north of 
Atlanta may transition west bound at 4,500 feet MSL and eastbound at 
3,500 feet MSL. These altitudes ensure that VFR aircraft are outside of 
Class B airspace and will remain above the FTY Class D airspace area. 
In this instance, there are at least three options for VFR aircraft:
    1. Alter course to avoid the FTY, Dobbins ARB (MGE), DeKalb-
Peachtree (PDK) and Cobb County-McCollum Field (RYY) Class D airspace 
areas at 3,500 MSL;
    2. Ask for VFR Flight Following from A80. If VFR aircraft are 
receiving VFR Flight Following from A80, they can transit these Class D 
airspace areas without having to contact each individual control tower; 
or
    3. Fly just north of an east/west line over PDK which will put VFR 
aircraft in an area where the lower limit of Class B is either 6,000 or 
7,000 MSL. This airspace can be transited at 5,500 feet MSL while 
remaining outside the Class B and Class D airspace areas.
    Another commenter said that extending the Class B airspace to LZU 
would require pilots on approach to Runway 7 to fly under the Class B 
shelf which could discourage access by light sport pilots and students. 
The commenter asked that the Class B boundary be moved farther from LZU 
to allow several miles for extended downwind. Since the existing Class 
B airspace extends out to 35 NM, today the LZU airport totally 
underlies a shelf of Class B airspace. With the proposed Class B 
design, LZU airport would be completely outside the Class B boundary. 
Aircraft approaching Runway 7 may still need to fly under a 6,000 foot 
Class B floor, but this floor is well above traffic pattern altitude 
and leaves plenty of room for aircraft to maneuver. The proposed design 
would be much less restrictive to LZU airport operations than the 
existing airspace.
    One commenter believed that lowering the Class B floor would cause 
the existing VFR ``corridors'' to be within Class B airspace, thus 
defeating the purpose of the ``corridors.'' ATL does not have VFR 
corridors in either the current or proposed airspace design. The FAA 
believes that the commenter is referring, instead, to the charted VFR 
flyways depicted on the reverse side of the Atlanta VFR Terminal Area 
Chart. If the proposed airspace is implemented, these flyways will be 
amended based on the Class B changes. The FAA intends to develop 
additional flyways and to add GPS waypoints to the chart to assist 
pilots in navigating around the area. The FAA has no plans to develop a 
VFR corridor within the Atlanta Class B airspace area because the 
airspace is simply too congested.
    Over 90 comments concerned impacts of the proposal on the 
communities around PDK airport, including: Increased noise and air 
pollution; lower property values and inability to sell homes; 
detrimental effect on local businesses; reduced tax revenues; and 
decreased quality of life. Noise complaints were a recurring issue 
because many commenters believed that lowering the floor of the Class B 
airspace would cause aircraft to fly lower over residential areas 
resulting in increased noise for their communities.
    The FAA is not proposing to change existing air traffic procedures 
or flight paths, therefore, where aircraft fly today is where they 
would continue to fly if the proposed Class B changes are implemented. 
As stated previously, the reason for the proposed Class B change is to 
comply with agency policy to

[[Page 5436]]

contain large turbine-powered aircraft arriving and departing ATL 
within Class B airspace on the routes they are currently flying. 
Therefore, the Class B changes should not cause an increase of over-
flight noise from what residents are experiencing today.
    Additionally, there is a perception that Hartsfield jets will begin 
flying lower over residential areas near PDK airport due to the 
lowering of the Class B floor. The FAA does not intend to change where 
aircraft fly today. ATL arrivals are operating in the area in question 
at 6,000 feet today and they will continue to operate at that altitude 
in the future. As previously discussed, the purpose of the proposed 
lowering of the Class B floor to 5,000 feet is to encompass ATL 
departures that are already operating in that area at 5,000 feet 
underneath the arrivals (but outside the confines of Class B airspace). 
ATL arrival flows could not be lowered from 6,000 feet to 5,000 feet 
without also lowering the departures down to 4,000 feet in order to be 
below the arrivals with proper separation. This would require the Class 
B floor to be even lower at 4,000 feet, but that is not being 
considered. Since arrivals and departures to both ATL and PDK will 
continue to operate at the same altitudes as they do today, none of the 
above impacts would result from the proposed Class B changes. In fact, 
the vast majority of noise being experienced by residents is caused by 
aircraft at or below 3,000 feet MSL when taking off from, or landing 
at, PDK. These aircraft will continue to fly at those altitudes 
regardless of any changes made to the Atlanta Class B airspace. The 
proposed Class B changes would have no effect, positive or negative, on 
noise generated by aircraft arriving or departing PDK. Therefore, 
lowering the floor of Class B airspace to 5,000 feet MSL would not have 
an appreciable effect on the amount of noise experienced by residents 
in the neighborhoods surrounding PDK.
    Two commenters wrote that a new reliever airport should be 
constructed in the Atlanta area to support the growth of air travel and 
preclude the need for modifying the Class B airspace. This suggestion 
is outside the scope of this proposed rulemaking effort.

The Proposal

    The FAA is proposing an amendment to Title 14, Code of Federal 
Regulations (14 CFR) part 71 to modify the Atlanta Class B airspace 
area. This action (depicted on the attached chart) proposes to lower 
the floor of Class B airspace to ensure the containment of large 
turbine-powered aircraft, reduce the outer lateral dimensions of the 
area for more efficient airspace utilization, and update the Atlanta 
airport geographic position to reflect the current airport survey 
information. The Class B airspace ceiling would remain at 12,500 feet 
MSL. The proposed revisions of the Atlanta Class B airspace area are 
outlined below.
    Area A. Area A is the surface area that extends from the ground up 
to 12,500 feet MSL. The FAA is not proposing any changes to Area A.
    Area B. A revised Area B is proposed consisting of that airspace 
extending upward from 2,500 feet MSL east and west of the Atlanta 
airport. The revised Area B would combine two existing subareas, B and 
C. The existing area B consists of a small segment of airspace, east of 
the ATL airport that extends upward from 2,100 feet MSL between the 7 
and 9-mile radii of the Atlanta VORTAC. The existing Area C includes 
that airspace extending upward from 2,500 feet MSL, east and west of 
Atlanta airport between the 7 and 12 NM radius of the Atlanta VORTAC. 
With this change, the existing 2,100-foot floor of Class B airspace 
would be eliminated.
    Area C. Area C is redefined to include that airspace that extends 
upward from 3,000 feet MSL (as described above, the existing Area C 
extends upward from 2,500 feet MSL). The new Area C would lower the 
existing floor of Class B airspace from 3,500 feet MSL to 3,000 feet 
MSL. Currently, Area D includes the airspace extending upward from 
3,500 feet MSL. With this proposal, most of the airspace now in Area D 
would be incorporated into the new Area C (with the lower 3,000-foot 
floor).
    Area D. This area would still consist of that airspace extending 
upward from 3,500 feet MSL. However, it would be significantly reduced 
in size due to the modification of Area C, described above. The revised 
Area D would include only that airspace bounded on the south by a line 
4 miles north of and parallel to the Runway 08L/26R localizer course, 
and on the north by a line 8 miles north of and parallel to the above 
mentioned localizer courses. The revised Area D would be bounded on the 
west by long. 84[deg]51'38'' W., and on the east by long. 
84[deg]00'32'' W.
    Area E. This area would continue to include the airspace extending 
upward from 4,000 feet MSL, but it would be modified incorporating a 
small segment of Class B airspace, south of ATL that currently extends 
upward from 6,000 feet MSL. In addition, Area E would incorporate the 
two segments, currently extending upward from 5,000 feet MSL that were 
added by the October 2006 rule as discussed in the Background section, 
above.
    Area F. Area F consists of that airspace extending upward from 
5,000 feet MSL. The area currently is composed of four small segments, 
one southwest of ATL, one southeast and the two segments east and west 
of ATL that were designated in the October 2006 rule. These four areas 
would be removed from Area F and incorporated into other subareas with 
lower floors. The modified Area F would be located north of ATL within 
the area bounded on the south by a line 8 miles north of and parallel 
to the Runway 08L/26R localizer courses, and on the north by a line 
13.5 miles north of and parallel to the above mentioned localizer 
courses. On the east and west, Area F would be bounded approximately by 
the 30 NM radius of the Atlanta VORTAC. The effect of this change would 
be to lower the floor of Class B airspace from 6,000 feet MSL to 5,000 
feet MSL in the described area.
    Area G. Area G contains that airspace extending upward from 6,000 
feet MSL. Currently, Area G consists of airspace north of ATL, which 
would largely be incorporated into the revised Area F. The revised Area 
G would consist of the airspace bounded approximately between the 
Atlanta VORTAC 30 NM radius on the south, and a line 12 miles south of 
and parallel to the Runway 10/28 localizer courses.
    Area H. This area consists of two airspace segments that extend 
upward from 5,000 feet MSL, one located southwest and one located 
southeast of ATL. The Area H segments would be bounded on the north by 
a line 12 miles south of and parallel to the Runway 10/28 localizer 
courses and on the south by the 30 NM radius of the Atlanta VORTAC, 
excluding the airspace within Area G as described above.
    Area I. Area I is redefined to consist of the airspace extending 
upward from 7,000 feet MSL north of ATL. The revised Area I would be 
bounded on the north side by the 30 NM radius of the Atlanta VORTAC; on 
the south by a line 13.5 NM north of and parallel to the Runway 08L/26R 
localizer courses; on the east by a line from lat. 33[deg]52'25'' N., 
long. 84[deg]19'08'' W. direct to lat. 34[deg]04'20'' N., long. 
84[deg]09'24'' W.; and on the west by a line from lat 33[deg]53'28'' 
N., long. 84[deg]36'07'' W. This change would lower the floor of Class 
B airspace from 8,000 feet MSL to 7,000 feet MSL in the defined area.
    Area J. Area J would be a new subarea to describe that airspace 
extending upward from 6,000 feet MSL in two segments, one northwest and 
one northeast, of ATL. One segment would

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abut the west side of Area I and the other segment would abut the east 
side of Area I. The two segments would abut the northern boundary of 
Area F, with the 30 NM radius of the Atlanta VORTAC defining their 
northern edges. Area J would lower part of the Class B airspace floor 
from 8,000 feet MSL to 6,000 feet MSL in the northwest and northeast 
sections of the area.
    If the above proposed changes are implemented, all existing Class B 
airspace that lies outside the 30 NM radius of the Atlanta VORTAC would 
be eliminated. These changes are being proposed to ensure the 
containment of large turbine-powered aircraft within Class B airspace 
as required by FAA directives to enhance safety and the efficient 
management of air traffic in the Atlanta, GA terminal area.
    The geographic coordinates in this proposal are stated in degrees, 
minutes and seconds based on North American Datum 83.
    Class B airspace areas are published in paragraph 3000 of FAA Order 
7400.9V, dated August 9, 2011, and effective September 15, 2011, which 
is incorporated by reference in 14 CFR 71.1. The Class B airspace area 
proposed in this document would be published subsequently in the Order.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3507(d)) requires 
that the FAA consider the impact of paperwork and other information 
collection burdens imposed on the public. We have determined that there 
is no new information collection requirement associated with this final 
rule.

Regulatory Evaluation Summary

    Changes to Federal regulations must undergo several economic 
analyses. First, Executive Order 12866 and Executive Order 13563 
directs that each Federal agency shall propose or adopt a regulation 
only upon a reasoned determination that the benefits of the intended 
regulation justify its costs. Second, the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 
1980 (Pub. L. 96-354) requires agencies to analyze the economic impact 
of regulatory changes on small entities. Third, the Trade Agreements 
Act (Pub. L. 96-39) prohibits agencies from setting standards that 
create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of the United 
States. In developing U.S. standards, the Trade Act requires agencies 
to consider international standards and, where appropriate, that they 
be the basis of U.S. standards. Fourth, the Unfunded Mandates Reform 
Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4) requires agencies to prepare a written 
assessment of the costs, benefits, and other effects of proposed or 
final rules that include a Federal mandate likely to result in the 
expenditure by State, local, or tribal governments, in the aggregate, 
or by the private sector, of $100 million or more annually (adjusted 
for inflation with base year of 1995). This portion of the preamble 
summarizes the FAA's analysis of the economic impacts of this proposed 
rule.
    Department of Transportation Order DOT 2100.5 prescribes policies 
and procedures for simplification, analysis, and review of regulations. 
If the expected cost impact is so minimal that a proposed or final rule 
does not warrant a full evaluation, this order permits that a statement 
to that effect and the basis for it be included in the preamble if a 
full regulatory evaluation of the cost and benefits is not prepared. 
Such a determination has been made for this proposed rule. The 
reasoning for this determination follows:
    This action proposes to modify the Atlanta, GA, Class B airspace 
area to ensure the containment of aircraft within Class B airspace, 
reduce controller workload and enhance safety in the Atlanta, GA, 
terminal area. It lowers the Class B Airspace in some sections to 
encompass existing IFR traffic. Lowering the floor of the Class B 
airspace would increase safety by segregating large turbine-powered 
aircraft from aircraft that may not be in contact with ATC. It would 
also increase safety and reduce air traffic controller workload by 
reducing the number of radio communications that air traffic 
controllers must use to inform IFR aircraft when they are leaving and 
re-entering Class B airspace. This would reduce the amount of 
distraction that air traffic controllers face in issuing these 
communications and free radio time for more important control 
instructions. IFR traffic would not be rerouted as a result of this 
proposal.
    The change may cause some VFR pilots to have to choose between 
flying lower, circumnavigating the area, or requesting Class B service 
from A80 to transition the area. This has the potential of increasing 
costs to VFR pilots if the alternative routes are longer, take more 
time and burn more fuel. The FAA believes, however, that there would be 
minimal impact to VFR aircraft operating where the Class B floor would 
be lowered. Where the floor would be lowered to 5,000 feet, an FAA 
sampling of VFR traffic found that 98 percent of 7123 VFR flights were 
already operating below 5,000 feet. Where the floor would be lowered to 
3,000 feet, we believe there is sufficient airspace to allow safe 
flight below the Class B airspace. The minimum vectoring altitude 
(based in part on obstruction clearance) under most of the proposed 
3,000-foot floor is 2,500 feet. VFR aircraft can and do fly safely at 
2,000 feet under the existing Class B floor. Recognizing that some VFR 
aircraft may elect to circumnavigate instead of flying lower, it is 
only a short deviation in distance and time would be needed to place 
the aircraft beneath a higher Class B floor.
    The FAA intends to take actions that would increase the 
alternatives available to VFR pilots. For instance, if this proposal is 
adopted, the FAA intends to establish VFR Waypoints and Reporting 
Points to assist VFR pilot navigation, and to establish VFR routes that 
can be used to circumnavigate the Class B airspace or used as a 
predetermined route through the Class B airspace when operations 
permit. In addition to these new VFR waypoints, the FAA would establish 
RNAV T-Routes within Class B airspace for transitioning over the top of 
ATL airports. These various alternatives should provide pilots with 
options that would assist them in navigating around or beneath the 
Class B and/or to request ATC clearance to cut through the Class B. The 
FAA believes that no more than a small percent of VFR traffic would 
choose to travel longer, less efficient or more costly routes because 
safe flight would still be possible beneath most of the Class B 
airspace, A80 would continue to provide VFR services to assist pilots 
in transiting the area, and only short course deviations would be 
needed if pilots decide to avoid the areas with lower Class B floors.
    The FAA would have to update maps and charts to indicate the 
airspace modifications, but these documents are updated regularly. 
These modifications would be made within the normal updating process 
and therefore would not contribute to the cost of the rule since the 
updates would be as scheduled.
    The proposed rule redefines Class B airspace boundaries to improve 
safety, would not require updating of materials outside the normal 
update cycle, would not require rerouting of IFR traffic, and is 
expected to possibly cause some VFR traffic to travel alternative 
routes which are not expected to be appreciably longer than with the 
current airspace design. The expected outcome would be a minimal impact 
with positive net benefits, and a regulatory evaluation was not 
prepared. The FAA requests comments with supporting justification about 
the FAA determination of minimal impact.

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    FAA has, therefore, determined that this proposed rule is not a 
``significant regu